SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CAPABILITIES OF
THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Committee on Science and Technology Capabilities of the Department of State
Development, Security and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CAPABILITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE LETTER REPORT Committee on Science and Technology Capabilities of the Department of State Development, Security and Cooperation Policy and Global Affairs
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by The Golden Family Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Room 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org .
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The Honorable John Forbes Kerry Secretary of State Department of State Washington DC Dear Mr. Secretary: We are pleased to submit this brief interim report of the National Research Council committee that, in response to a request from former Under Secretary Robert Hormats, is undertaking an assessment of the capabilities of the Department of State that are particularly important as science and technology become integral aspects of diplomacy. Based on our initial interviews and review of documents, we can report that during the past decade, the Department has significantly expanded its science and technology capabilities in Washington, but done less well at U.S. diplomatic missions abroad. We will continue our discussions with leaders and specialists within the Department and with others in the science and technology communities as we prepare a more expansive report for release in Fall 2014. We commend your leadership in elevating the importance of addressing climate change across the relevant Department activities, holding a broad international conference on the state of the oceans, and continuing strong support for the PEPFAR program. Building on your initiatives, we intend to provide suggestions in our final report to support the Department’s science and technology agenda in these and other areas. Technological progress, especially in information and communications technology (ICT), has driven much of the world’s dramatic political, economic, and social change in recent years. New discoveries in nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and other fields have unveiled a multiplicity of opportunities for improving human health, protecting the environment, and ensuring adequate food supplies while strengthening our nation’s economic competitiveness. But new technologies also have the potential to increase threats to national security, disrupt international communications, and exhaust our natural resources. Achieving U.S. foreign policy goals in the coming decades will require novel strategies that leverage the impact of science and technology on significant global issues in creative ways. Nearly every country is focused on innovation as a driver of its economic future and its national security. Advanced and emerging market economies are building their own innovative capacities, often looking at successes in the U.S. system while also developing new approaches of their own. Most countries are interested in working with U.S. universities, companies, investors, and governmental and non-governmental organizations to increase their capabilities.
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Our collaboration with foreign science and technology counterparts should also deliver many economic and political benefits for the United States, and the Department and our embassies can often facilitate such efforts. At the same time, the global innovation landscape itself is undergoing fundamental change. The development-related activities of private sector firms, often operating on a global scale, complement efforts of government research and development organizations in a number of sectors with investment in energy, information systems, and advanced manufacturing. Large research-oriented companies and innovative high-tech startups are not only designing and commercializing inventions, but they also are working with government and academic partners in driving the search for new discoveries. In some sectors, private firms and entrepreneurs are much more important players than governments in setting the pace and direction of technological change. This evolving reality calls for our diplomats to forge new partnerships with the private sector and other non-governmental organizations, while also taking advantage of the expertise of the many departments and agencies of the U.S. government. Such an expanded perspective – global as well as national, private and academic as well as public sector– accords well with the four pillars of the foreign policy strategy set forth in the FY2014-2017 Department of State and USAID Joint Strategic Plan to enhance and protect the interests of American citizens, namely: promoting peace and stability, creating jobs at home by opening markets abroad, helping growth in the developing countries, and building partnerships to address global challenges. To achieve these goals, insights into science, technology, and innovation systems need to be further woven into the fabric of the department, including the workings of the functional and geographic bureaus and the outreach of our embassies. The Department’s work can benefit in many ways from creative approaches to strategic planning, to economic and environmental statecraft, to public diplomacy, and beyond. Enhancing and embedding science literacy throughout the department will strengthen its innovation capacity, and this capacity has never before been so important. The committee is considering how the Department can draw more broadly on our nation’s unmatched technical assets to further our foreign policy agenda. We are discussing activities in the four areas set forth below along with a few examples of approaches in each area that might be considered. We would appreciate comments on these preliminary topics and ideas, as well as suggestions of other ideas that the committee might consider. Capabilities of the Department’s Work Force: Broadening the scope of hiring preferences to include AAAS Science and Technology Fellows serving in the Department who compete for civil service positions in regional and functional bureaus. Encouraging expanded use of electronic education capabilities by Foreign Service Officers and Foreign Service Nationals who are interested in improving their science literacy. Organizational Adjustments: Establishment of a Science and Technology Advisory Committee to the Secretary comprised of American experts in rapidly advancing fields. Increased involvement of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary in the development of policies and diplomatic approaches with significant science and technology content.
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Embassy Capabilities and Interests: Improved preparation of Foreign Service Officers who assume environmental, science, technology, and health responsibilities at important embassies, including an enhanced short course directed to current and future science and technology challenges, and expanded consultations with U.S. science and technology agencies. Encouragement of U.S. ambassadors to draw broadly on U.S. governmental and nongovernmental in-country resources in addressing foreign policy issues with important science and technology dimensions. Interagency Coordination and Partnerships with Other Organizations: More strategic use of the bilateral science and technology agreements as platforms for initiating and scaling up successful activities of U.S. government agencies and their partners. We greatly appreciate the strong support that we have received from bureaus and offices throughout the Department during this effort. We would welcome their views on the preliminary ideas described in this letter and any other approaches the committee might explore. Sincerely, Thomas Pickering Adel Mahmoud (Co-Chair) (Co-Chair) Enclosure cc. Under Secretary Catherine A. Novelli
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Committee Members Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering (Co-Chair) - Vice Chairman, Hills and Company Adel A. F. Mahmoud (Co-Chair) - Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University Catherine Bertini - Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University Ambassador Kenneth C. Brill - Member of the Board of Directors at the Stimson Center Thaddeus Burns - Senior Counsel for Intellectual Property and Trade, General Electric Company Michael T. Clegg - Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of California, Irvine Glen T. Daigger - Senior Vice President, Technical Fellow and Chief Technology Officer, Water Business Group, CH2M HILL, Inc. Kent Hughes - Program Manager, The Woodrow Wilson Center Colonel Cindy R. Jebb - Professor and Head, Department of Social Sciences, United States Military Academy Michael T. Jones - Chief Technology Advocate, Google, Inc. Robert M. Perito - Executive Director, The Perito Group Brenda Pierce - Energy Resources Program Coordinator, U.S. Geological Survey Emmy B. Simmons - Consultant, Former USAID Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade Sten H. Vermund - Amos Christie Chair and Director, Vanderbilt University Institute for Global Health David G. Victor - Professor; Director, Laboratory on International Law and Regulation, University of California at San Diego Acknowledgment of Reviewers This letter report has been reviewed in draft form by the following individuals to ensure that it meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity: Robert Frosch, Harvard University; Cutberto Garza, Boston College; Vaughan Turekian, American Association for the Advancement of Science; and Ghebre Tzeghai, Proctor and Gamble Company. The review was overseen by Stephen Fienberg, Carnegie Mellon University. Responsibility for the final content of the letter report rests with the authoring committee and the institution.