Effective technology capability has become the key force multiplier in modern conflict. Defense Science and Technology (S&T) seeks more effective capabilities through better technologies. Accordingly, the mission of Defense S&T is to ensure that warfighters today and tomorrow have superior and affordable technology for revolutionary war-winning capabilities. The results of our S&T fuel the effort to fundamentally transform the way we conduct military operations. Advances in nanoscience and advanced materials; advanced power generation; human dimensions and psychological factors; and directed energy are changing the face of warfighting.
The Defense S&T community has already had countless successes in improving warfighting technology, some recent examples include: stealth technologies; night vision; adaptive optics and lasers; the Global Positioning System; and Phased Array Radars. Some of these technologies successfully migrated to commercial applications. The Internet, formerly the Defense Department ARPANET, is one of the most influential technologies to emerge.
The S&T community continues to drive at the challenges facing our forces today: How do we protect our forces against proliferation of missile technologies, weapons of mass destruction and improvised explosive devices? How do we fight in cities? What type of weapons do we develop? How do we protect our information management systems and infrastructure? We map these problems against the Joint Functional Concepts: Battlespace Awareness; Force Application; Command and Control; Focused Logistics; Force Protection; Joint Operations; Force Management and Net-Centric Operations to ensure our ability to conduct warfare.
To manage the S&T investment — $10 to $11 billion annually, we use the Defense S&T Reliance Process, which is a collaboration between the Director, Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) and the Service S&T executives. We also use the process to develop and maintain the Defense S&T Strategy, Basic Research Plan, Defense Technology Area Plan, Joint Warfighting S&T Plan and the Defense Technology Objectives. Our S&T process is influenced by many outside forces. Needs and requirements are validated by the Joint Staff, Congress and DDR&E advisory panels. Our S&T community includes participation by academic institutions, other federal agencies, industry and international partners.
In support of the technical aspects of major defense acquisition, we have institutionalized the Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) as part of major acquisition reviews. The TRA includes identifying an acquisition program's critical technologies and evaluating those technologies against the NASA Technology Readiness Level scale. Critical technologies with insufficient maturity are identified and a mitigation plan is put into place to ensure that the development efforts mature in time for it to be incorporated into the system.
One area of our technology suite that permeates every aspect of defense yet remains to be a challenge is software. The Defense S&T community recognizes that most of our warfighting capability will be enabled by software, so an investment in technologies for managing and developing software is appropriate. Unfortunately, we are still recovering from the view in the late '90s that industry would take care of DoD's software needs.
To highlight some of the ways software has challenged our acqui-sition programs, we've put together a list of the top six challenges we face in software development today. Some of these challenges are technology related; others rest on the shoulders of program management. Some can be addressed through new tools, tech-niques and technologies while others require the fortitude to "do the right thing." These challenges are presented as lessons learned so that future programs can avoid these pitfalls and, if successful, return