The DOD of course has a long history of jump-starting innovation. Historically, it has taken the megafunding and top-down control structures of the federal government to do the kind of investing required to create important technology for the military. Digital photography, GPS, the Internet itself—all were nourished by defense contracts before being opened up to the private sector, which then turned them into billion-dollar industries.
Now the flow has reversed. Defense has been caught in the throes of the same upheaval that has disrupted legacy industries, unseated politicians, and upended global dynamics.