Defense Science Board and Its Part in the U.S. Technical Progress Management System

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-10-37-50

A. Rey (,
Institute of Applied Economic Research, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, 84, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119571, Russian Federation 

Abstract. An independent body of experts is an important part of the “superstructure” of a system of public management and control over scientific and technical advance, offering decision-makers a cohesive perspective on technological foresight and planning which is guided by its members’ decades of experience in public and military service, practical design and scientific research. This paper uses the U.S. Defense Science Board (DSB) as a case study, traces its evolution through sixty years of history, and aggregates publicly available (and thus, incomplete) information on reports written by the Board members since 2000. The unique dataset presents striking difference between the post-9/11 flurry of activity and reduced output in the years of the first Obama administration. The data also reveal a rapid expansion in DSB’s membership since 2001. The study links the increase to the digital revolution in the Department of Defense, encompassing highly complex and novel cyber warfare and artificial intelligence capabilities – the technological hypothesis  and bureaucratic dynamics of the Board. The article shows that during the first Obama administration, quantitative metrics of the Board’s performance declined while organizational rigidity and internal complexity grew. Further research and data gathering are needed to disambiguate between the technological and bureaucratic hypotheses. One of the avenues for future studies is exploratory analysis of aggregated standard metrics of innovative activity for the DSB members, inter alia number of patents, peer-reviewed publications, and corresponding citation measures. 

Keywords: Defense Science Board, research and development, military, United States of America 


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For citation:
Rey A. Defense Science Board and Its Part in the U.S. Technical Progress Management System. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2017, vol. 61, no. 10, pp. 37-50.

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