Uncle Sam Wants a Few Good Entrepreneurs
By Matthew Maier

(Business 2.0) – With an annual R&D budget of nearly $65 billion, the U.S. Department of Defense spends more on technology than any other organization in the world. Where does it do its shopping? For national security reasons, the Pentagon deals solely with U.S. contractors—the more, the better, to juice competition. That's why would-be entrepreneurs should take a look at a recent Pentagon report on America's high-tech defense industry. The study highlights three technologies in which U.S. suppliers have been unable to meet projected military needs: helmet-mounted displays, intersatellite links, and "swarming" tools used to control groups of unmanned vehicles.

Put simply, Uncle Sam wants to be your customer—provided you're American, of course. But before you quit your day job, here's what you need to know about the competitive landscape for these critical technologies. — MATTHEW MAIER