Air force sponsorship of manufacturing technology projects is often based on the hope that the results will not only benefit the original contractors, but also will be transferred to other Air Force contractors. While some innovations are readily adopted, others are rejected for a variety of reasons. An understanding of those reasons and the process by which investment decisions are made will enable the Air Force to establish policies and procedures to enhance the likelihood of successful technology transfer to its competitors. As manufacturing systems become more complex and more integrated, transfers of hardware/software combinations will be increasingly common. Innovation and Transfer of the U.S. Air Force Manufacturing Technology examines three instances involving manufacturing research and development projects completed under contract to the Air Force to explain why attempted transfers of military sponsored manufacturing technology succeed or fail. The report presents a model based on these three case studies which describes the decision-making process used by potential adopters of innovations. Based on the case studies, Innovation and Transfer of the U.S.
Air Force Manufacturing Technology suggests that more attention be directed towards the characteristics of the technologies, as well as to the aspects of transferring organizations. It proposes changes in contracting procedures to increase the diffusion of such technology and recommends that one or more case studies be conducted on the transfer of manufacturing systems that involve such hardware/software combinations.