Gholz 2012 – PhD, Associate Professor of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, senior advisor to the deputy assistant secretary of defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy (March, Eugene, Energy Innovation at the Department of Defense: Assessing the Opportunities, White Paper, “The dynamics of military innovation and the prospects for defense-led energy innovation”, http://bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Energy%20Innovation%20at%20DoD.pdf, WEA)
Because the military is blocked by the professionalism ¶ that defines American civil-military relations from overtly ¶ lobbying for its preferences, itstrusted relationship with key ¶ defense contractors provides a key link in developing political ¶ support for military innovation. The prime contractors take ¶ charge of directly organizing district-level political support ¶ for the defense acquisition budget, and any major innovative ¶ project that the military hopes to invest in needs to fit into a ¶ contractor-led political strategy to be funded.¶ 92¶ Other unusual ¶ features of the defense market reinforce the especially strong ¶ and insular relationshipbetween military customers and ¶ established suppliers. Their relationship is freighted withstrategic ¶ jargon, security classification, regulation of domestic content, ¶ socioeconomic set-asides, extremely costly audit procedures, and ¶ hypersensitivity to scandals driven by perceived or occasionally ¶ real malfeasance. The military has to work with suppliers who are ¶ comfortable with the terms and conditions of working for the ¶ government, who are able to translate the language in which the ¶ military describes its doctrinal vision into technical requirements ¶ for systems engineering, and who are trusted by the military ¶ to temper optimistic hopes with technological realism without ¶ undercutting the military’s key objectives. The military feels ¶ relatively comfortable discussing its half-baked ideas about the ¶ future of warfare with established firms—ideas that can flower ¶ into viable innovations as the military officers go back and forth ¶ with company technologists and financial officers.
That iterative process has given the U.S. militarythe best ¶ equipment in the world in the past, but it tends to limit the ¶ pool of companies with which the military buyers directly ¶ contract to a particular set of firms: the usual prime contractors ¶ like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, ¶ General Dynamics, and BAE Systems. The core competency ¶ of these companies is dealing with the unique features of the ¶ military customer.
The Air Force already tried to get companies to build SMRs---they concluded tech’s a decade away
Kate Anderson 10, Senior Engineer in the Integrated Applications Office, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2/1/10, “SMALL NUCLEAR REACTORS,” https://smr.inl.gov/Document.ashx?path=DOCS%2FReading+Room%2Fgeneral%2FNuclear+White+Paper+by+NREL+020110.pdf
Small nuclear reactorswere originally developed for defense applications. The US Navy begandeveloping small nuclear reactors for naval propulsion in the early 1950s, and today operates more than 100 reactors aboard aircraft carriers, other surface ships, and submarines. The Army Nuclear Power Program ran between 1954 and 1976, with 8 small reactors constructed to power remote operations. The program was discontinued due to the poor economics of nuclear plants relative to cheaper alternative fuels available at the time.3 Today, the Army is studying small transportable reactor concepts for power, water, and synfuel production4,5 and the use of mobile nuclear reactors has been suggested for expeditionary forces.6 The Air Force explored nuclear powered aircraft, but discontinued the program in 1961. Today, they are considering fielding small nuclear reactors on domestic bases. In January 2008 the Air Force issued a request for proposals, looking for a private company that would be interested in building small nuclear reactors on Air Force bases. However, Air Force spokeswoman Vicki Stein says the Air Force is 12 to 14 years away from building such a power plant.7