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Beyond "Fortress America": National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World I. Introduction Many of the federal government’s regulations governing what information, components, and products can be delivered to or shared with citizens of other countries are harming the nation’s security and its economic prosperity. This system was designed for a world that no longer exists, and it needs to be replaced. U.S. national security, including the protection of the homeland, is not well served by the current controls. The single technology base that today supports both U.S. commercial and military capabilities is constrained from expanding into new fields and from applying new scientific developments. Entire international markets are denied to U.S. companies because they are forbidden to ship their technologically sophisticated products to foreign countries. Obsolete lists of controlled components prevent U.S. companies from exporting products built from prior generation technologies not likely to harm national security. U.S. scientists are hobbled by rules that prevent them from working with world-class foreign scientists and with advanced laboratories located overseas, making it less likely that valuable discoveries and inventions will occur in the United States. The government’s rules are driving jobs abroad—knowledge-intensive jobs critical to the future of the U.S. economy. The government’s rules are accelerating the development of technologies in capable research centers outside the United States.
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Beyond "Fortress America": National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World To deal with this alarming situation, in 2007, the National Research Council appointed this committee of scientists, technologists, and defense experts, with deep experience in both national security and the nexus of scientific and technology research and economics to propose policy solutions. The committee recognizes that concerns exist about the potential for China to present a significant military and economic challenge in the coming years, assuming that its economy is able to maintain robust rates of growth and that its indigenous science and technology capabilities continue to develop. There are also concerns about the potential military threat posed by a resurgent Russia, fueled largely by oil and gas revenues, and these concerns have only been heightened by recent events in Georgia.1 Yet even if these projected scenarios are realized, the committee’s findings and recommendations would be the same, because the realities of today’s economic environment will not bring about a return to the economic and technological hegemony the United States enjoyed during the Cold War. The committee also acknowledges the problems presented by the accumulation of enormous amounts of dollar-denominated assets by overseas governments; the issues related to the ownership of U.S. high-technology corporations; the difficulties and protections afforded by the classification system; and ever-present trade policy issues. These important challenges are beyond the scope of this report except in this way: without a successful resolution of national security control issues as they affect scientific and technological development in the United States, each of these problems becomes harder to solve. The findings and recommendations set out below go beyond Cold War conceptualizations to examine the protection of national security and promotion of economic prosperity through more effective global engagement policies. The committee’s findings summarize the gradual, but cumulatively dramatic changes that have occurred over the past 1 While the 2008 Russian military incursion into Georgia is serious and worrisome, it does not necessarily suggest that the United States and its Western allies are likely to return to an overtly adversarial relationship with the Russian Federation. Should Russia seek to impose its will militarily on other states in the “Near Abroad,” such as Ukraine or the Baltic countries, this would necessarily require a fundamental reassessment of all aspects of U.S. and NATO policy—but it would still not justify the imposition of export controls unsuited to the current state of scientific and technological globalization.
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Beyond "Fortress America": National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World 50-plus years, and that have been documented in numerous, extensively researched prior reports and studies (listed in Appendixes D and E). The committee’s recommendations include basic changes in policy, which should be implemented by the new President, to quickly reverse the damage that is accumulating.
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