On the choice of multi-task R&D defense projects: A case study of the israeli missile defense system

Eyal Pecht, Asher Tishler, Nir Weingold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investments in R&D constitute a major share of the expenditures of the hi-tech industry since, generally, they enable firms to successfully compete in the rapidly and constantly changing markets for hi-tech products and services. The role of R&D projects is particularly important in the areas of defense and homeland security due to the nature of warfare and the continuous threats posed by arms races and by terror organizations. This study analyzes the choice of the R&D projects designed to counter multiple related military threats. It develops the methodology required to assess whether it is preferable to develop one project to thwart several related threats, or several distinct projects, each of which provides an answer to one specific threat or a partial set of the threats. An analytic solution is provided and assessed for two simple models with two related threats. A solution of the model is then provided for any number of related threats, using a dynamic programming methodology. Finally, we demonstrate the usefulness of our model and methodology to Israel's missile defense problem; that is, we show how to optimally develop systems aimed at thwarting the multiple threats of short-, medium-, and long-range missiles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-448
Number of pages20
JournalDefence and Peace Economics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Defense R&D
  • Missile defense system
  • Multi-task projects


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