(NationalInterest.org) Daniel M. Gerstein, for undersecretary (acting) and deputy undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate from 2011–2014. explains the United States is already in a global “technology war” that will likely shape U.S. economic and national security well into the twenty-first century. Many technologies have become the focus of this war, with winners and losers are already beginning to emerge.
Important technology development changes are underway that could dramatically affect world order. The continued shift in global research and development spending highlights how far U.S. dominance has eroded. In 1960, when considering federal, industry and academia, the United States accounted for 69 percent of the global R&D. By 2016, the United States accounted for only 28 percent of the global R&D.
High profile attacks have called into question the security of the Internet, the protection of data that resides in cyberspace, and our very privacy. Less public—but arguably no less important—skirmishes are being waged in other areas such as quantum computing. The winners will undoubtedly gain distinct advantages over the competition.
The Trump administration should develop technology priorities, and technologies considered vital to U.S. economic and national security should receive investments to stimulate advances and promote U.S. leadership. The administration’s recent call to have greater industry investment in basic research, in lieu of government funding, seems shortsighted and should be reconsidered given the emerging tech war.