The mission of the Department of Defense (DoD) is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country. Within DoD the Director, Defense Research and Engineering is responsible for the oversight and advocacy of all research and engineering programs and serves as the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. This includes responsibility for Science and Technology programs (consisting of Basic Research, Applied Research, and Advanced Technology Development) and Advanced Component Development and Prototypes programs.
The Component organizations of the DoD include the Military Departments and the Defense Agencies, which are responsible for management and execution of programs and projects associated with research and technology broadly, including nanotechnology. Numerous Component organizations within DoD are involved in nanotechnology research and development including: Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR); Army Engineering R&D Center; Army Research Laboratory (ARL); Army Research Office (ARO); Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); Office of the Director, Defense Research & Engineering (ODDR&E); Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA); and Office of Naval Research (ONR).
DOD considers nanotechnology to have potential to contribute to the warfighting capabilities of the nation. Because of the broad and interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology, DOD views it as an enabling technology area that should receive the highest level of corporate attention and coordination. These priorities are described in the most recent Department of Defense Research and Engineering Strategy.
Nanotechnology is an enabling technology for the new classes of sensors (such as novel focal plane arrays), communications, and information processing systems needed for qualitative improvements in persistent surveillance. The DOD also invests in nanotechnology for advanced energetic materials, photocatalytic coatings, active microelectronic devices, and a wide array of other promising technologies. The DOD nanotechnology program is based on coordinated planning and federated execution among the military departments and agencies (components) (e.g., the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency). Nanotechnology currently represents a scientifically and technologically advanced research theme that has proven and expected value toward enhancing defense capabilities.