Timely technology transition with minimal risk requires an understanding of fundamental and technology limitations of material synthesis, device operation and design controllable parameters. However, this knowledge-based approach requires substantial investment of resources in the Science and Technology (ST) stage of development. For low volume niche semiconductor technologies of Department of Defense (DoD) relevance, there is little drive for industry to expend their limited resources towards basic research simply because there is no significant return on investment. As a result, technology transition from ST to product development is often delayed, expensive and carries risks. The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is addressing this problem by establishing a Center for Semiconductor Modeling of Materials and Devices (CSM) that brings together government, academia, and industry in a collaborative fashion to address research opportunities through its Open Campus initiative. This Center leverages combined core competencies of partner organizations, which include a broad knowledge base in modeling, and its validation; sharing of computational, characterization, materials growth and device processing resources; project continuity; and ‘extension of the bench’ via exchange of researchers between affiliated entities. A critical DoD technology is sensing in the infrared (IR) spectrum, where understanding of materials, devices and methods for sensing and processing IR information must continually improve to maintain superiority in combat. In this paper we focus on the historical evolution of IR technology and emphasize the need for understanding of material properties and device operation to accelerate innovation and shorten the cycle time, thereby ensuring timely transition of technology to product development and manufacturing. There are currently two competing IR technologies being pursued, namely the incumbent II-VI Hg1- xCdxTe technology and the III-V Type 2 Superlattices (SLs) technology. A goal of the CSM is to develop physics based models for Type 2 SLs with the capability to timely understand the knowledge gap between what is built and what is designed.