The urge to remain militarily strong has long been a driver of technological advancement. This interplay between strength and technology, so evident in America's global military reach, has for decades prompted U.S. defense planners to engage in technology forecasting. Analysis of emerging technologies was, and is, vital to making wise defense investments. Among the preeminent examples of such analysis are the studies undertaken by Theodore von Karman just after the Second World War. The von Karman reports represent an exhaustive review of science and technology related to the military services. His analysis projected the importance of unmanned aircraft, advanced jet propulsion, allweather sensors, and target seeking missiles. While it is important to assess the needs and challenges of the future, understanding past military technological successes can be equally important to defense science and technology (S&T) investment and management. To complement the above efforts and the many other technology forecasts too numerous to mention, this study is the first in a series that will examine some of the key factors that have led to meaningful technology generation and ultimate incorporation into the U.S. weapons systems we see in the field today. Included here are such factors as where the technical work was performed, funding source(s) for the effort, collaboration between government and non-government laboratories, and management style. This series of studies will focus only on Army weapons systems, beginning with the mainstay of the Army's armor force, the Abrams tank. Analysis of other Army systems, such as the Apache helicopter and the Javelin and Stinger missiles, will follow. The results of all studies will be compiled in a wrap-up report that will focus on the implications of the findings for today's S&T environment. We begin the paper by briefly reviewing a project that served as a source of inspiration for this study: Project Hindsight, a 1969 Defense Department (DOD) report. Hindsight was an in-depth study sponsored by the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) that provided some insights into the development of approximately 20 weapons systems across the DOD spectrum. Following the review of Hindsight, we present a short history of U.S. battle tanks as well as a summary of events leading up to the Army decision to replace the M60 Patton tank with the Abrams tank. This is followed by a description of the methodology used to gather key data on the development of the Abrams. The information is broken out by topic area (armament related subjects; armor and other survivability related subjects; engine and drive system; vetronics, C4ISR and fire control) and presented in terms of critical technology events (CTEs). CTEs are ideas, concepts, models, and analyses, including key technical and managerial decisions that have had a major impact on the development of a specific weapons system. CTEs can occur at any point in the system's life cycle, from basic research, to advanced development, to testing and evaluation, to product improvements. The final portion of the paper presents the concluding remarks and findings based on the CTEs that characterize the Abrams tank's development. The CTEs are noted in the left margin throughout the report. They are summarized in Appendix B. CTEs are numbered only for ease of reference; there is no hierarchical or chronological significance to their order. While the link between high-tech weapons systems and battlefield success is often readily apparent, the geneses of and processes associated with CTEs often are not. CTEs depend on several important factors, including effective management, adequate funding, establishment of clear priorities, fostering of proper technical competencies, and leveraging of the resources of the private sector and academia.