Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

College of Technology

Committee Member

Dr. Denise Pilato

Committee Member

Dr. Pamela R. Becker

Committee Member

Dr. John C. Dugger

Committee Member

Dr. Philip C. Schmitz


Recent studies indicate that the United States is trailing other countries in technological innovation and competitiveness. This case study examined national security policy constraints on technological innovation, specifically the Invention Secrecy Act. It focused on the social constructs of collaboration and interdisciplinary knowledge in the aerospace industry. The methodology included historical research, data collection, and semi-structured interviews with experts from academia, general industry, government and public policy, aerospace/defense industry, and federal government. The results of the study suggested that since World War II, national security policies have not been clearly and consistently defined, interpreted, or implemented. This lack of clarity gave rise to actions by presidential administrations and federal agencies, creating a fractious atmosphere and further limiting access to and sharing of restricted or classified information by academia, industry, government, and private researchers. Government actions also directed funding allocations to specific research types or groups, which added to the veil of secrecy and selectiveness surrounding national security projects. Collectively, the actions constrained collaboration and interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge; two essential sources for technological innovation. This study identified five critical factors that likely impede technological innovation in America’s aerospace industry: (a) power, control, and responsibility for national security, (b) the assumption that technological supremacy equals a secure nation, (c) policy constraints: the Invention Secrecy Act and Export Control Regulations, (d) funding constraints, and (e) organizational culture and ethnocentrism. Recommendations for future studies include explore and identify additional constraints on innovation by other national security policies, investigate and assess the impact of these restrictive policies on specific industries, and examine organizational culture as a barrier to technological innovation.