Copyright law differs by region
Ignoring the Military, which this story is concerning itself with, in the US, an individual retains a degree of control to the rights to an innovation that they had even if it is done on company time. This is the reason why Sun were able to set themselves as a company using software technology largly developed when Bill Joy and the other the founders were working or grad students for University of California, Berkley. They did cross license it, but the fact that they had retained some of the rights gave them a great lever to do so. I thing that Bill Joy's name is still listed explicitly on some copright notices on BSD derrived code.
This can be altered by employment contract, but is then subject to being challenged in court.
In the UK, copyright for an innovation made on work time, or using work resources are owned exclusivly by the employer. This is how IBM and others in the UK can own all innovations by their employees in the UK. Their contract of employment is quite explicit about this, and contains the clause Slik Fandango commented about earlier. I knew a clever bod who had to get explicit agreement from the management to participate in BSD 4.4 development, even though he had been involved with this before joining IBM.
So please be aware that just because you were able to do something, it may not be possible in another country.
In this case, the US military and government are involved, so all bets are off.
I wait for IBM or the black-hats to track me down!