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Suggested Citation:"IV. Conclusion." National Research Council. 2009. Beyond 'Fortress America': National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12567.
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Page 81
Suggested Citation:"IV. Conclusion." National Research Council. 2009. Beyond 'Fortress America': National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12567.
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Page 82

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IV. Conclusion Visa regulations and export controls are not issues that provoke the attention of the nation’s citizens, and for that reason, have a seemingly “quiet” impact. Nevertheless, the combined effect of these controls over the last 20 years has been to corrode the very institutions they were developed to protect—our national economic security and well-being. We recognize that neither elected officials nor policy makers have incen- tives to spend political capital on issues that seem arcane and persist below the public’s radar screen. However, almost all of these serious problems can be corrected with one Executive Order from the Presi- dent. For this reason, the committee has undertaken this study from the point of view of a presidential order and has confined its recommenda- tions to the essential elements of such an order. As a nation, we cannot, and should not, abandon well-conceived efforts to keep dangerous tech- nology 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, such knowledge and technol- ogy represent a very narrow and limited set of goods, technology, and know-how. Our former unilateral strategy of containment and isola- tion of our adversaries is, under current conditions, a self-destructive strategy of obsolescence and declining economic competitiveness. A strategy of international engagement is a path to prosperity that can be coupled with a smart 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. 81

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The national security controls that regulate access to and export of science and technology are broken. As currently structured, many of these controls undermine our national and homeland security and stifle American engagement in the global economy, and in science and technology. These unintended consequences arise from policies that were crafted for an earlier era. In the name of maintaining superiority, the U.S. now runs the risk of becoming less secure, less competitive and less prosperous.

Beyond "Fortress America" provides an account of the costs associated with building walls that hamper our access to global science and technology that dampen our economic potential. The book also makes recommendations to reform the export control process, ensure scientific and technological competitiveness, and improve the non-immigrant visa system that regulates entry into the United States of foreign science and engineering students, scholars, and professionals.

Beyond "Fortress America" contains vital information and action items for the President and policy makers that will affect the United States' ability to compete globally. Interested parties--including military personnel, engineers, scientists, professionals, industrialists, and scholars--will find this book a valuable tool for stemming a serious decline affecting broad areas of the nation's security and economy.

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