A National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies

New White House strategy outlines ways to protect the nation’s competitive edge in world-changing emerging technologies


Throughout history, the U.S. has been a driving force in the innovation of science and technology. But the nation’s global supremacy has been challenged. And to protect its competitive edge in critical and emerging technologies, the White House released the National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies, developed by the National Security Council.

It lays out priorities to protect the technological advantage of the U.S. and promote the National Security Innovation Base (NSIB) as competing nations like Russia and China mobilize resources and advance science and technology initiatives, the White House said in an announcement.

The strategy includes two pillars of success. Pillar one requires a sustained and long-term investment in all aspects of the NSIB such as STEM education, an advanced technical workforce, early-stage research and development, venture capital, and collaboration between government, academia, and the private sector. Pillar two is to protect technology advantage both domestically and in conjunction with like-minded allies and partners. Priority actions under this pillar include:

  • Ensuring that competitors do not use illicit measures to gain access to U.S. intellectual property, technologies, research and development work
  • Requiring security design early in the technology development phases and collaborating with allies to take similar action
  • Engaging with the private sector to benefit from its understanding of critical and emerging technologies

The strategy also outlines the ways and means by which the U.S. and its allies and partners will continue to be world leaders in critical and emerging technologies. As a technology leader, the U.S. will lead in the highest-priority technology areas to ensure its national security and economic prosperity. But this requires:

  • Prioritization due to limited resources
  • Coordination with allies and partners
  • Investments during early development cycles
  • Periodic reevaluation as the technology matures

And as the U.S. obtains and retains its position as a technology leader, it will continue to remain a technology peer to its allies and partners in high-priority technology areas.

The National Security Council also included a list of 20 initial technologies identified as critical: advanced computing; advanced conventional weapons technologies; advanced engineering materials; advanced manufacturing; advanced sensing; aero-engine technologies; agricultural technologies; artificial intelligence; autonomous systems; biotechnologies; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear mitigation technologies; communication and networking technologies; data science and storage; distributed ledger technologies; energy technologies; human-machine interfaces; medical and public health technologies; quantum information science; semiconductors and microelectronics; and space technologies.

The list will be reviewed and updated annually via the interagency process coordinated by the National Security Council.

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