The IR&D conducted by profit-oriented industrial organizations involved in defense related work is applied research directed at the anticipated near-term needs of the customer community. The conduct of the basic research is left to the Government laboratories and the universities that work under direct contract to the Government. Working under this guideline, the managers of optics IR&D must strike a balance between improving our basic technical skills, which will enable us to perform more effectively for our customers in the future, and developing new or improved techniques and capabilities to address the upcoming requirements of the customer community. This paper discusses IR&D organization within an industrial concern, and explores how IR&D management identifies a future hardware requirement and subsequently plans, staffs, and executes near-term improvements in the art of optics through a series of continuing programs. The example used to illustrate the management of an optics IR&D effort is a series of ongoing IR&D programs at Itek aimed at the development of advanced techniques for light-weighting glassy optical components.