Research Directorate Office: About Us

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OASD(R&E) grew out of the Research and Development Board formed with the Department of Defense in 1947.
Within the provisions of the National Security Act of 1947, the newly established National Military Establishment consisted of the Secretary of Defense, three special assistants and three agencies: the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Munitions Board, and the Research and Development Board. The 1949 Amendments to the National Security Act changed the name of the National Military Establishment to the Department of Defense, added a Deputy Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and converted the special assistants to the title Assistant Secretary of Defense. The two Boards continued. President Eisenhower's Reorganization Plan No. 6 went into effect in June 1953. The statutory boards and positions in the Office of the Secretary of Defense were abolished and functions were transferred to the Secretary of Defense. A General Counsel was established and six new ASDs were added, bringing the total to nine. Two of these ASD positions were predecessors to the DDR&E: ASD (Applications Engineering) and ASD (Research and Development). Some time thereafter, the Applications Engineering position became simply Engineering. In March 1957, these two ASDs were combined to become the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering). Under the DoD Reorganization Act of 1958, effective August 6, 1958, the position of ASD (R&E) was abolished and the functions were transferred to the new Director of Defense Research and Engineering. On October 21, 1977, the DDR&E position was redesignated as the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, but the Military Reform Act of 1986 reestablished the position of DDR&E.

Today, the DDR&E reports to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

The OASD(R&E) has four directorates: Research, Systems Engineering, Rapid Fielding, and Developmental Test and Evaluation. The OASD(R&E) is supported by other components as well.

The Research Directorate has policy and oversight responsibility for DoD programs in basic research, applied research, advanced development, and advanced components and prototypes. Read our mission below.


The Research Directorate mission is to:
  • Develop the strategies and supporting plans that exploit science, technology and prototypes to respond to the needs of the DoD.
  • Ensure U.S. technological superiority, prepare for an uncertain future, and accelerate delivery of technical capabilities to the warfighter.
  • Conduct analyses and studies; develop policies; provide technical leadership, oversight and advice; make recommendations; and issue guidance.
  • Oversee matters associated with DoD laboratories; the science and engineering workforce; and efforts to stimulate science, engineering and mathematics education.
  • Ensure interchange with Allied and friendly nations.
  • Provide support to the Defense Technology Security Administration on technological issues pertaining to international acquisition and export activities.
  • Provide advice and assistance in developing policies for rapid technology transition.
  • Provide technical support to the USD(AT&L) on programs subject to review by the Defense Acquisition Board to reduce the cost, acquisition time, and risk of major acquisition programs. Conduct technology readiness assessments to inform acquisition decisions.
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