White House releases 'National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies'

By Justin Doubleday / October 15, 2020 at 11:53 AM

The White House has released a new "National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies" outlining the Trump administration's approach to promoting and protecting U.S. developments in fields like artificial intelligence and quantum information science.

The strategy released today "encourages unity of effort across the United States Government and provides a framework from which deliberate actions will affect multiple technology areas in a coordinated manner."

A senior administration official, speaking on background with reporters, said the Commerce Department will continue to serve as the lead agency for export controls, but the strategy is intended to ensure coordination among different departments.

"This strategy is a product of bringing all those department and agencies together so we have a common picture and a common set of priorities so that again the government would function as a team across those departments and agencies to make sure we're focusing on those most critical technologies for the future," the official said.

The strategy lays out two pillars, one to "promote" U.S. technologies and the other to "protect" them.

The "promote" pillar includes familiar, high-level "priority actions," including developing a high-quality science and technology workforce, reducing regulations, and increasing government investments in research and development.

The "protect" pillar involves preventing competitor nations like China and Russia from using "illicit means" to obtain U.S. intellectual property. The pillar also lays out a priority action to "require security design early in the technology development stages, and work with allies and partners to take similar action."

Additionally, officials want to ensure partner and allied countries have something similar to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

"We want to encourage our likeminded partners and allies who don't already have robust systems for controlling outside investments and ensuring it doesn't pose a security threat," the administration official said.

The strategy highlights 20 specific technology areas "that United States Government Departments and Agencies identified to the National Security Council staff as priorities for their missions." The document states the list will be reviewed and updated annually. The areas are:

  • 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 (CBRN) 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
  • Space technologies