Dual Use Innovation for National Defense—It’s Time

Innovation and technology are shaping the world we live in, providing solutions to a wide range of challenges across industries. One emerging concept gaining significant attention is ‘dual use innovation and technology,’ or developing and applying solutions with both military and civilian use cases. It involves leveraging advancements in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity, advanced materials, and more to address challenges faced by the defense sector and society. Dual use recognizes that many technological breakthroughs can be repurposed and have far-reaching impacts beyond their original intended use, resulting in multiple benefits and applications.

One of the critical advantages of dual use innovation and technology is enhanced efficiency and cost-effectiveness. By developing solutions that can be utilized across different sectors, research and development costs can be shared, resulting in more efficient use of resources. For example, advancements in robotics developed for defense purposes can also be applied to industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation, streamlining processes and reducing costs.

Dual use innovation fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing between the defense sector and other industries. It encourages experts from diverse fields to unite, exchange ideas, and work towards common goals. This collaboration brings fresh perspectives, stimulates creativity, and fuels innovation. Through partnerships and joint initiatives, the defense sector can tap into the expertise of professionals in other industries, accelerating technological advancements and addressing complex challenges.

Dual use innovation and technology can potentially address global challenges faced by the defense sector and society. For instance, advancements in cybersecurity developed for defense applications can be applied to protect critical infrastructure, financial systems, and personal data, safeguarding against cyber threats that affect governments, businesses, and individuals. By leveraging dual use technology, we can find comprehensive and sustainable solutions to complex problems, benefiting national security and societal well-being.

The North Carolina Defense Technology Transition Office (DEFTECH), a component of the North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC), plays a pivotal role in driving the success of the North Carolina Innovation Ecosystem by fostering an environment that supports the development, adoption, and integration of dual use innovation and technology. DEFTECH enables collaboration between government agencies and industry, which is crucial to realize the potential of dual use innovation and technology fully. Government agencies can provide funding, incentives, and regulatory frameworks encouraging cross-sector collaboration and investment in dual use research and development. On the other hand, industry can bring the necessary expertise, resources, and market insights to drive the commercialization and deployment of dual use technologies.

Dual use innovation and technology hold immense potential to revolutionize how we address complex challenges in the defense sector and beyond. DEFTECH supports innovative dual use solutions with wide-ranging benefits by leveraging industry advancements and fostering collaboration between government, industry, and research institutions. In a rapidly changing geopolitical environment, embracing dual use innovation will enhance national security, drive economic growth, and tackle global challenges.

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