Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Ross T. McNutt, PhD


Everyday within United States Air Forces’ research laboratories there are hundreds of scientists and engineers whose research and development activities contribute to the advancement of science and technology for mankind. The opportunities for successful technology transfer within these research activities are unbounded. This thesis examines the Air Force Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA’s) involvement with technology transfer, the complexities they face, the importance of their position, and what best practices ORTAs use to facilitate technology transfer. Air Force concerns and initiatives are detailed to provide perspective on balancing technology transfer with mission requirements and adherence to United States law. Legislative requirements mandate laboratories to transfer federally developed technologies to the commercial sector. Research indicates that several Air Force organizations routinely experience successful technology transfer more frequently than other Air Force organizations. The literature review indicates that historically, technology transfer from DoD has been predominantly passive. However, over the last three years with the involvement of partnership intermediaries, a more active trend has been indicated. Questionnaires and interviews were conducted with key personnel from Air Force ORTA’s to identify successful technology transfer attributes and best practices throughout the Air Force, and capture them in a central repository for all Air Force personnel to access. Recommendations offered to help technology transfer in Air Force laboratories include: (1) development of a more thorough training program conducted on a bi-annual basis for the scientific and engineering community, and (2) encouragement of senior management to emphasize and actively promote an organizational atmosphere that pursues technology transfer opportunities. Senior management should also hold personnel accountable for failure to facilitate technology transfer because of their lack of effort, bureaucratic posturing, or ignorance of the process. The culmination of this study was the development of a technology transfer “best practices” central repository for ORTA’s to access and share with personnel within their organizations.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number