DOD Goals for World Class S&T

The Director of Defense Research and Engineering coordinates department-wide S&T, including supervision of DARPA and the R&D activities of the individual armed services. 

In July 2009, DDR&E introduced four Imperatives to focus the organization in support of the immediate and
future needs of the Department of Defense:

    Accelerate delivery of technical capabilities to win the current fight
    Prepare for an uncertain future
    Reduce the cost, acquisition time and risk of our major defense acquisition programs
    Develop world class science, technology, engineering, and mathematics capabilities for the DoD and the Nation

http://www.dod.mil/ddre/index.html

I think that to measure their progress against that last goal, they need to evaluate where the US stands relative to others.  The Congress seems to agree.  Here is the text of a law (10 C 2365) that establishes a Global Research Watch Program.

(a) Program.— The Director of Defense Research and Engineering shall carry out a Global Research Watch program in accordance with this section.

(b) Program Goals.— The goals of the program are as follows:

(1) To monitor and analyze the basic and applied research activities and capabilities of foreign nations in areas of military interest, including allies and competitors.

(2) To provide standards for comparison and comparative analysis of research capabilities of foreign nations in relation to the research capabilities of the United States.

(3) To assist Congress and Department of Defense officials in making investment decisions for research in technical areas where the United States may not be the global leader.

(4) To identify areas where significant opportunities for cooperative research may exist.

(5) To coordinate and promote the international cooperative research and analysis activities of each of the armed forces and Defense Agencies.

(6) To establish and maintain an electronic database on international research capabilities, comparative assessments of capabilities, cooperative research opportunities, and ongoing cooperative programs.

(c) Focus of Program.— The program shall be focused on research and technologies at a technical maturity level equivalent to Department of Defense basic and applied research programs.

(d) Coordination.—

(1) The Director shall coordinate the program with the international cooperation and analysis activities of the military departments and Defense Agencies.

(2) The Secretaries of the military departments and the directors of the Defense Agencies shall provide the Director of Defense Research and Engineering such assistance as the Director may require for purposes of the program.

(e) Classification of Database Information.— Information in electronic databases of the Global Research Watch program shall be maintained in unclassified form and, as determined necessary by the Director, in classified form in such databases.

(f) Termination.— The requirement to carry out the program under this section shall terminate on September 30, 2011.

R. D. Shelton