tific and technology fields (and personal knowledge of the expertise of the individual whose application is being reviewed) to aid consular officials in accurately and efficiently determining the existence of a real security threat.

  1. Institute skills-based preferential processing with respect to visa applications.

The committee recommends that the President’s Executive Order institute a new skills-based, preferential processing with respect to visa applications. The visa applications of scientists and engineers should be given priority. Graduate-level education and science and engineering skills should substantially raise an applicant’s chances and confer priority in obtaining residence permits and U.S. citizenship.


As a nation, we cannot, and should not abandon well-conceived efforts to keep dangerous technology and scientific know-how out of the hands of those who would use this knowledge to create weapons of mass destruction and other, equally dangerous military systems. However, these represent a very narrow and limited set of goods, technology, and knowledge. Our former unilateral strategy of containment and isolation of our adversaries is, under current conditions, a self-destructive strategy for obsolescence and declining economic competitiveness. A strategy of international engagement is a path to prosperity that can be coupled with a smarter approach to security using an adaptive system of government regulation and incentives. The committee recommends the issuance of an Executive Order that implements the recommendations it has outlined as one of the first orders of business in 2009.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement