The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population and 23 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product, can maintain a secure homeland and growing prosperity for its citizens only through high-value and globally competitive achievements in science and technology (S&T) and through nurturing an S&T environment that implements innovations with superior efficiency and effectiveness. Our globally connected and rapidly changing world has resulted in a more diverse mixture of markets, talents, competitors, and contributors for the next generations of scientific discoveries, destructive technologies, and innovation environments. Change is accelerating due to the explosive growth and accessibility of information, the increasing numbers of highly skilled scientists and engineers engaged in research and development (R&D), and the increasing number of countries investing in and capable of contributing to R&D.
In light of the growing competition for dominance in global S&T markets, the S&T strategies and innovation environments of Japan, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Singapore (JBRICS) were selected for analysis in this report. These countries vary in their historical and cultural contexts, in the resources on which they can depend, and in their specific S&T objectives. Thus, each country has unique priorities for investment. However, they share the common goal of strengthening their S&T innovation environment, which encompasses educational systems, social networks, funding mechanisms, strategic partnerships, and other formal and/or informal infrastructures that support technology creation. Each country, regardless of its past success, will need to leverage global markets and attract talent from inside and outside its borders to achieve or maintain S&T leadership.
Today, the national S&T policies of the United States are rooted in recommendations from the Vannevar Bush report, Science The Endless Frontier, which was presented to President Truman 60 years ago (Bush, 1945). Bush proposed strategies for nurturing and utilizing S&T advances to benefit U.S. national security, and for improving the health and prosperity of the U.S. people. The founding of the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other agencies, and the assignment of responsibilities in basic research, applied research, and industrial development to universities, industry, and the national laboratories were called out in this report. The directions taken as a result of this report, and the revisions to them over the decades, have been remarkably effective at securing and enhancing a leadership position for the U.S. S&T enterprises, to the great benefit of the country.
However, much has changed in the world during the past 60 years. The global science, technology, and innovation (ST&I) environments are largely open, with easy and inexpensive access to information for a greatly expanding number of countries and people who will participate in advanced S&T creation, innovation, and com-
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.
BACKGROUND AND REPORT FOCUS
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.
POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY
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.
Statement of Task
An ad hoc committee will examine the science and technology (S&T) strategies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, Japan, and Singapore and the relevance of those strategies to U.S. national security. The committee will compare and contrast U.S. S&T strategy planning by federal and nonfederal sources to that of the selected nations and evaluate the implications of any differences for U.S. national security strategy.
Specifically, the committee will:
As a result of these countries’ S&T strategies and of the current climate of free-flowing and inexpensive access to information, maintaining scientific and technological assets and preventing technological surprise will continue to be a major challenge for the U.S. government and its intelligence community.
This report covers the S&T strategies of the JBRICS countries and the relevance of those strategies to U.S. national security. Chapter 2 outlines the methodology developed by the committee used to create the report. Chapters 3 through 8 describe the strategy and goals of each of the six selected countries, and consider other significant factors that affect each nation’s innovation environment. Each of these chapters ends with a net assessment of the country’s current progress and predicts advancement in key technology areas relevant to U.S. national security. These chapters also highlight unique, nation-specific metrics that can be used to track each country’s progress toward achieving its goals and points out key observations and implications for U.S. national security. Chapter 9
provides a condensed analysis of the implications that S&T development in the JBRICS countries might have for the U.S. Department of Defense. Chapter 10 concludes the report with observations on the implications of the national S&T strategies of the surveyed countries and key recommendations to the U.S. government and the sponsor, the intelligence community.
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