Protecting U.S. Technological Advantage

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Date of Publication: 
January, 2022
Source Organization: 

According to the Committee on Protecting Critical Technologies for National Security in an Era of Openness and Competition – one of several groups responsible for the production of this “consensus study report,” U.S. leadership in technology innovation is central to the nation’s interests, including its security, economic prosperity, and quality of life. The U.S. has created a science and technology ecosystem that fosters innovation, risk taking, and the discovery of new ideas that lead to new technologies and new industries. Immigration has played a crucial role in sustaining this ecosystem, and a substantial portion of this publication examines the important interconnections between immigration policy and continued technological leadership. The main thrust of the book, however, is to examine how U.S. technological leadership can be protected and enhanced, while also successfully adapting to a new world of “highly integrated and globally shared platforms that power and enable most modern technology applications.” The authors argue that “U.S. policies, programs, and procedures designed to protect U.S. technology advantages have been proving less effective as the nation’s competitive leadership in related areas of science and technology has narrowed.” In the area of immigration, the report points out that high skilled immigration to other OECD countries has been growing more rapidly than to the U.S. At the same time, the U.S. share of international students – a pipeline for STEM graduates and entrepreneurs – has been declining. Many countries have adopted the “American model” of attracting talent from abroad, and unless the U.S. revisits and refines that model, it may continue to lose ground in the race for technological leadership.

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National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2022). Protecting U.S. Technological Advantage. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.