The Intersection of Emerging Technologies and the U.S. Defense Acquisition System

Professor: McBirney and Wong
Units: 1.0
Elective Course


Both the defense and commercial industries are placing special emphasis on identifying, investing in, and advancing emerging technologies. In this course, we will examine emerging technologies broadly and the U.S. Department of Defense’s approach to identifying, investing, and maturing technologies. Recurring themes, institutional tensions, and shortcomings will be explored through historical and contemporary case studies. We will aim to develop principled approaches for thinking through emerging technologies and possible pathways through the Defense Acquisition System from start to finish.

By the end of the course, students will:

  • Learn the definition of “emerging technology” and how to identify technologies as such
  • Understand the national security implications of various emerging technology domains
  • Learn about the U.S. Department of Defense’s approach to technology acquisition
  • Be able to effectively communicate highly technical information to a broad audience