Excerpt from The Potential of "Spin-Off" From a Systems Perspective
On the other side, it is advocated that military enterprise and aerospace programs are an effective way of generating new technology4 which could help maintain the u.s. Technological leadership and benefit civilian industry in the long run. Jet engines, nuclear power, semiconductors, computers, satellite communications are among the examples most frequently mentioned.
Indeed, the views about the contribution of military (and aerospace) programs to the economic performance are very diverse. One reason is that many analyses use different standards as reference. For example, the defense programs could be compared with r&d sponsored by National Science Foundation, by other Federal agencies, or by commercial companies. They could also be assessed against a system which is differently managed. And there could even be investments of different weights along the Spectrum of basic research, applied research, development, engineering, technology validation, etc., and inclusion of different schemes in tax collection, reduction and credit.5 Certainly it can be argued that it is inappropriate to consider cost of spin-off because the cost should be charged against the targeted missions. But when the investmentis very big, and spin-off is used as one reason to partly justify the investment, then the consideration of spin-off cost, however difficult in quantitative terms, makes some sense.
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