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TheStreet Open House

The Continuing Peace Dividend

Stocks in this article: LMTDDDSSYSSAI

We're already seeing a "peace dividend" from all that in the rising prices paid for shares of such 3D printing companies as 3D Systems (DDD) and Stratasys (SSYS), and by the planned break-up of SAIC (SAI) into defense and civilian cyber-security units, described by David Zanoni at Seeking Alpha last month.

Next to emerge from DARPA will be "living foundries," which the agency describes as an "engineering framework for biology," creating materials that heal themselves and using biological processes to develop new fuels and medicines.

Meanwhile those defense contractors that can engineer their technology into civilian products will prosper, while those that don't will lose their best-and-brightest to start-ups that can. That's the way the American economy maintains its competitive edge. Folks will tell you it's our universities, our research centers, but these are just the tip of the military-industrial spear and always have been.

The more incoming Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel can drive defense research toward civilian aims, the better the choice will prove to be.

At the time of publication, the author was long DDD.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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