Knowledge is the basic output of the defense technology establishment in the United States; it is what enables the development of weapon systems. From this premise, this volume explores the process of knowledge production in defense technology from the beginnings of the Cold War to the present time. Produced through the process of research and development (R&D), technical knowledge for defense is an economic commodity. It is "fundable" in the sense of having future value. Like other commodities in the futures market, it is purchased before it is produced. But unlike those other commodities, this knowledge is typically produced through the joint efforts of the customer and the vendor.
This study highlights two polar aspects of knowledge production: technology development and technology transfer. It centers on the present, shifting concept of defense conversion that is redefining defense technology policy. The book also includes cited documents pertaining to the transactions that engage customers and vendors in the process of knowledge production. The documents constitute a literature of needs and claims, and they reveal two chief properties: problem formulation and tactical positioning. Apart from the substantive yield of these particular documents, the strategy of evidence in this volume has broad implications for further study, suggesting a means of analyzing knowledge production in other large social systems.
"If you want to understand the importance of knowledge production and its relationship to defense r & d and procurement, Van Nostrand's work offers an excellent primer."
"Seldom is professional communication scholarship as engaging as I found Van Nostrand's book to be. His animated discussion of how language operated in the defense R&D industry was rewarding on at least two levels. The volume first offers an interesting account of an important episode in the history of science and technology. And, perhaps more importantly for readers of this journal, Fundable Knowledge extends our understanding of the relationship between society and professional communication practices by blending social and historical perspectives with the analysis of workplace documents."
—Technical Communication Quarterly
"…presents a conceptual framework that helps us understand the systemic nature of the defense technology enterprise….for historians interested in research on aspects of the DoD, it can be very enlightening. A knowledge of the kinds of documents produced and their meaning will greatly facilitate the work of these historians: it will make the search for documents more efficient and, potentially, more rewarding….Van Nostrand's study performs a greats service in making this information so much more easily accessible."
"Van Nostrand has used his considerable skills at analyzing written documents to understand defense procurement….the person who will learn the most from Fundable Knowledge is someone desiring a global, even philosophical, analysis of what really is going on when a Defense Department agency develops a new weapon from an idea to a device….a friendly book for the non-scientist."
—Science, Technology & Society
"Van Nostrand provides a detailed and interesting account of the rhetorical practices that enable the buying and selling of knowledge in the U.S. defense R&D community….This book is an important contribution….It is also readable and good-humored."
—IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Contents: Editor's Introduction. Preface. Glossary of Acronyms. Introduction: Mapping the Territory. Going Ballistic. Part I: Coming to Terms I. The Knowledge in Defense Technology. The Dynamics of Knowledge Production. Part II: Coming to Terms II. Heavy Hands on the Market. The Color of the Money. Customers and Vendors: Dyads in a Dance. Marketing and the Co-Production of Knowledge. Part III: Coming to Terms III. The Paper Trail: Transactional Genres. Formulating the Fundable Problem. Capability Statements: The Truth But Not the Whole Truth. The Knowledge Cycle. Part IV: Coming to Terms IV. Reaching Out. Appendix: Defense Critical Technologies.