mercialization. The “control and isolation” of information strategy of the 1950s that restricted access to information that was deemed critical to national security and economic competitiveness has broken down in several important areas. Travel restrictions for foreign nationals, export control policies, and the Department of Commerce’s control list are manifestations of this earlier policy. However, for at least the past decade, the explosion of access to the Internet and the increase in the conduct of scientific and engineering research outside the United States have increased access to information for people and countries alike. When coupled with the increasing pressure to lead the introduction of innovative products into the global marketplace, this increased access to information has flipped the paradigm from “control and isolation” of information for innovation control to “engagement and partnerships” between innovators for innovation creation. Multinational corporations are locating facilities globally for R&D purposes in addition to traditional manufacturing and sales functions because of the available talent in the workforce, the large potential for market growth, and the high-performance spirit of opportunity in these regions. The expansion of multinational corporate facilities for development and, to a lesser degree, for research is occurring largely outside the United States. Even with its very large R&D investments, the United States does not lead all S&T fields (e.g., biofuels, wind and solar energy technologies, and high-speed rail transport) and will focus its leadership efforts in fields such as biosciences, information, and communication, among others. No matter what innovation policies the United States adopts, the competition for global leadership in S&T can only intensify in the future.

The success of U.S. national S&T strategies through the Cold War has verified the importance of having a policy for protecting national security and for facilitating economic prosperity. “Getting it right” relative to competitor countries matters. History verifies that “getting it wrong” also matters. Because global security and economic competitiveness in 2010 are dissimilar to those of 60 years ago, an understanding of the national S&T strategies and innovation plans of competitor countries is needed to critically assess the United States’ relative competitiveness today and more importantly in the future. It is hoped that this report will provide snapshots of the S&T plans of six countries that have employed and are employing successful S&T strategies, so that they may provide insight into the United States’ role in today’s competitive environment and contribute to an assessment of U.S. security within that environment.


This is the eighth report in a series developed under the guidance of the National Research Council (NRC) Standing Committee on Technology Insight—Gauge, Evaluate, and Review (TIGER) and sponsored by the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Defense Warning Office (NRC, 2005, 2006, 2008a,b, 2010a,b,c). As with the earlier studies, sponsorship of the current report was a result of discussions between the standing committee and the U.S. intelligence community (IC). The overall series is intended to assist the IC in identifying global technology trends that may affect U.S. national security interests and future U.S. warfighter capabilities.

The S&T strategies and innovation environments of Japan, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Singapore, or JBRICS, were selected by the sponsor for analysis with regard to their potential impact on U.S. national security. Box 1-1 shows the statement of task for the study. This report of the Committee on Global Science and Technology Strategies and Their Effect on U.S. National Security attempts to describe and evaluate the overall effectiveness of the strategies pursued by each country, and to suggest ways in which the United States should engage with these countries to enhance its own awareness and capabilities. It should be noted that this report does not include analysis of U.S. S&T strategies or the consequences to its national security of U.S. indebtedness. In addition, the committee found that most plans of the six countries it studied do not have a 10-year outlook, and so it was not able to comment on that timeframe.


To varying degrees, the S&T strategies of all the JBRICS countries have significant implications for U.S. national security. All six nations have concluded that their economic competitiveness is a core national security issue and seek to improve and secure their economic well-being through S&T innovation. The increasing number of participants in the international S&T dialogue poses opportunities and challenges that did not exist 25 years ago.

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