Investing in Science and Technology

The United States Needs to Up Its Game
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The United States is facing a challenge to its global leadership in science and technology that is more serious than any it has confronted since gaining that position after World War II. Within the relatively short span of two decades, China has emerged as a formidable rival, mounting a concerted drive to dominate key technology-intensive sectors and increasingly matching or exceeding the United States in resources committed.

The limited appreciation of the nature of this rivalry with China was recently underscored by the failure of the U.S. Congress to appropriate the funds previously authorized for the largest part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, while simultaneously cutting the budgets of key federal science and technology agencies for fiscal year 2024. This is all the more disappointing given that the same week, China announced a 10 percent increase in its already significant levels of public spending on research and development (R&D). The U.S.-China technology rivalry has strategic implications that can ultimately determine the outcome of a potential military confrontation, should one come about. Moreover, as U.S. technology leadership declines, the risks of economic and military challenges will rise.

This report is made possible by general support to CSIS. No direct sponsorship contributed to this report. 

Sujai Shivakumar
Director and Senior Fellow, Renewing American Innovation Project
Charles Wessner
Senior Adviser (Non-Resident), Renewing American Innovation Project

Thomas Howell

International Trade Attorney and Consultant, Renewing American Innovation Project