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


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.

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