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Knowledge is the basic output of the defense technology establishment in the United States; it is what enables the development of weapon systems. From this premise, this volume explores the process of knowledge production in defense technology from the beginnings of the Cold War to the present time. Produced through the process of research and development (R&D), technical knowledge for defense is an economic commodity. It is "fundable" in the sense of having future value. Like other commodities in the futures market, it is purchased before it is produced. But unlike those other commodities, this knowledge is typically produced through the joint efforts of the customer and the vendor.
This study highlights two polar aspects of knowledge production: technology development and technology transfer. It centers on the present, shifting concept of defense conversion that is redefining defense technology policy. The book also includes cited documents pertaining to the transactions that engage customers and vendors in the process of knowledge production. The documents constitute a literature of needs and claims, and they reveal two chief properties: problem formulation and tactical positioning. Apart from the substantive yield of these particular documents, the strategy of evidence in this volume has broad implications for further study, suggesting a means of analyzing knowledge production in other large social systems.