Maintaining Technology Advantage (MTA)

The Maintaining Technology Advantage (MTA) directorate in the Science and Technology (S&T) Program Protection (STPP) Office leads efforts to create Department of Defense (DoD) technology advantage by mitigating vulnerabilities and exploitation of critical missions, programs, and technologies by determined adversaries.

MTA oversees the Joint Acquisition Protection and Exploitation Cell (JAPEC), with stakeholders from across the Department, to prioritize critical programs and technologies for enhanced protection, develop and guide implementation of enhanced protection practices, and integrate sources and analysis of technical, counterintelligence, security, and law enforcement information to proactively mitigate exploitation and losses. The JAPEC efforts focus on protection of controlled technical information across the DoD enterprise and exploit opportunities to deter, deny, and disrupt strategic competitors that may threaten U.S. military advantage.

MTA also oversees the DoD Damage Assessment Management Office (DAMO). It aligns DAMO functions with the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cybersecurity Program and cyber incident reporting compiled by the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3), as well as incident reporting that may be identified by intelligence community and other sources. DAMO provides comprehensive (predictive) damage assessments and integrates assessment activities from all sources of reported incidents. DAMO assessments inform acquisition, requirements, and programming communities of vulnerabilities and recommend mitigation actions.

DoD Science and Technology (S&T) organizations have a primary responsibility for generating the S&T to create foundational technology to provide U.S. military superiority over our adversaries. To create technical advantage, DoD must protect the critical and emerging technologies for application in future capabilities. MTA is leading development of  Technology Area Protection Plan (TAPP) policy and guidance in support of proactive S&T protection. The TAPP will ensure DoD S&T, law enforcement, and counterintelligence organizations have information regarding emerging and disruptive research so initial prevention/safeguarding measures inform, and are transitioned into, the Program Protection Plans for programs of record and research and development programs as they are developed across the DoD enterprise.

MTA works closely with the DoD Protecting Critical Technology Task Force and leads efforts to ensure international partners share common interest in the protection of critical programs and technologies.


  • Inform security, intelligence, counterintelligence, and law enforcement capabilities to prevent and combat exploitation of critical missions, programs, and technologies
  • Implement science and technology policy and procedures for informed horizontal protection of emerging technology areas

Focus Areas

•  Joint Acquisition Protection and Exploitation Cell

•  Research and Technology Protection

•  Technology Area Protection Plans

•  Damage Assessment