The Establishment of Defence Science and Technology in Sri Lanka
It is well understood that for a modern military to be effective it needs to have access to an advanced science and technology organisation specialising in defence related activities. This includes both project based and long-term research. The balance for defence applications between the funding of project based research, and funding for long term defence research is discussed. Many countries conduct all defence related science and technology activities within government, whereas others outsource much of this activity to the commercial sector, including universities. Some technologies which are used by the military are advancing rapidly in the civilian sector. For many of these technologies the civilian sector can generally apply larger resources to such developments than is available from military funding. For those it may well be more appropriate for defence to maintain a watching brief on such activities, rather than to attempt to conduct its own research in these fields. This is of particular importance if the resources available to defence research activities are limited. Other technologies are specific to military applications, or involve sensitive information, and for these it is usually necessary that the science and technology research is conducted with the specific defence applications in mind. Although such research needs to be funded, and guided, by the requirements of the military, it is not always essential that it be conducted internally in a defence laboratory. Provided adequate security can be assured, such research can be carried out by organisations external to the military, including commercial companies and universities. Even where a particular technology is for a military application there are often considerable synergies with non-defence science and technology. These could be either software (people and know-how) or hardware (facilities and equipment) where in many cases the same expertise and facilities can be used for both military and civilian applications and it is recommended that this be applied wherever possible in the development of defence science and technology research in Sri Lanka.