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Playing Offense in the Race for Technology Leadership: Priorities for Final Competitiveness Bill

Publication Cover - Playing Offense in the Race for Technology Leadership
Publication Cover - Playing Offense in the Race for Technology Leadership

America is finally poised to begin to go on offense in the contest for technology leadership in the future. Both federal chambers have passed a bill purportedly aimed at elevating the competitiveness of the United States. The United States House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act on February 4, 2022, that now must be reconciled with the bill’s Senate counterpart, the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 that passed on June 8, 2021. There is perhaps no greater priority facing the nation than to preserve its innovative edge upon which its prosperity and security depends. Playing defense is insufficient. The final bill has the potential to put America on offense.

Each bill includes a mixture of provisions not directly relevant to advancing America’s competitiveness that are beyond the scope of this paper. They both include provisions vital to bolstering American innovation and sadly other provisions anathema to competitiveness. As the conference committee convenes it should retain those elements that will truly help American innovation stay a step ahead and steer clear of provisions harmful to competitiveness.

This paper seeks to state the case for action within the construct of a historical framework for elevating national innovation. It will identify categories of provisions to retain, perhaps even bolster and some provisions to jettison in the conference report for a competitiveness bill.

About the Author

Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy

Director, Wahba Institute for Strategic Competition

Mark Kennedy, Director of the Wilson Center’s Wahba Institute for Strategic Competition, is dedicated to strengthening America’s alliances and their mutually beneficial economic power projection. Kennedy applies experiences as a first-generation college graduate, Congressman, university president, senior roles in global commerce, presidentially appointed member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, founder of the Economic Club of Minnesota and author of an Ivy League published book. He has engaged wide cross-sections of society in over 45 countries, including refugee camps and war zones. An appointed Civic Leader supporting the Secretary of the Air Force, Kennedy has visited over 40 military bases and three aircraft carriers at sea.

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Science and Technology Innovation Program

The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) brings foresight to the frontier. Our experts explore emerging technologies through vital conversations, making science policy accessible to everyone.  Read more