The Death of Moore’s Law

For more than 50 years, Moore’s law has successfully described the steadily increasing power of microelectronics. Decades of exponential growth in transistor density has revolutionized the way humanity lives, and has generated a worldwide semiconductor industry. However, as Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and author of Moore’s Law, once said: “no exponential is forever.” Today, the imminent end of classical Moore’s Law scaling represents a major turning point in the history of microelectronics. The authors explore the historic background of Moore’s Law, the economic implications of its demise, and policy ideas for the US Department of Defense to adapt to this paradigm change.

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The Navigator Awards

As a non-profit successor to the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies has sought to shepherd meaningful discussion of science and technology (S&T) by operating at the intersection of business and government. Its leadership possessed the foresight to recognize the potency of certain fields – including neurotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, terrorism, and amphibious warfare – and has actively worked to promote smart policy that supported each.

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Why Can't We Get Acquisitions Right?

How the Conspiracy of Hope Undermines Acquisition Performance

Acquisition of the major technical systems that are so central to the security of the US is a major responsibility of the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense. While the successes of this process are many, there have been, increasingly, notable failures of the process to deliver systems at all, or failure to deliver systems with the balance of cost, schedule and benefit that was promised at the time the programs were initiated. The acquisition system has been studied many times over the last 20 years or so with the intent to implement systematic reforms, and many changes have been made. The most obvious result of these reform initiatives is that the acquisition system has gotten successively more bureaucratic, even sclerotic. This article posits that the intense political environment in which the acquisition system is immersed, the arcane nature of most technical defense and intelligence procurements, the challenges faced by the acquisition priorities in competing with “mission” and a Conspiracy of Hope across government and industry have combined to thwart the most well-meaning of reform initiatives. The article offers an unvarnished assessment of causes for the decline of acquisition system performance. The author provides specific recommendations aimed at stemming the decline.

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The Decline and Fall of the ITAR Empire

The authors take on ITAR, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. ITAR places bur- dens on researchers, to avoid export of information about a large range of technical topics that can relate to military systems. Since an export can amount to nothing more than showing a viewgraph at a domestic conference, or sending an email to a colleague, ITAR casts a dark shadow over US research. While reform efforts are moving slowly, this article dares to make an obvious conclusion: That ITAR must be completely rescinded. The case is made that ITAR, by virtue of restricting information, is more harmful than good, and that other mechanisms and laws exist to protect secrets and systems for national security purposes.

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Stress Fractures

Most who have been involved in the early stages of research and development, commonly referred to as science and technology (S&T), would agree that it is the basis for a long-range vision. It is the mechanism by which the innovative thought of some clever individual or group of individuals is allowed to begin the process of manifesting itself as a useful product. In the majority of cases this sort of innovation is born in small businesses and in many cases, it is actually a single individual who is the visionary or champion.

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