Kevin Coleman is a senior fellow at the Technolytics Institute and former chief strategist at Netscape. (File) ()
Reports about technology-related national security threats seem to appear daily. Last week was no exception, but this one has raised the eyebrows of many in the intelligence community, the military, academia, the defense industry, our government leadership and beyond.
The report was by the National Commission for the Review of the Research and Development Programs of the United States Intelligence Community. (The unclassified version is available from the Federation of American Scientists.) Included in the report is a statement by the commission that sets the tone for just how serious this issue has become.
“Failure to properly resource and use our own R&D to appraise, exploit, and counter the scientific and technical developments of our adversaries — including both state and non-state actors — may have more immediate and catastrophic consequences than failure in any other field of intelligence.”
The 45-page document (core content is less then 15 pages) not only identifies the shortcomings but offers suggestions to address them. Included is a six-bullet list that identifies the areas where our adversaries “use of S&T increasingly challenges IC capabilities in critical areas.” It also includes a dozen areas of research and development that are needed to “ensure that the IC’s capabilities remain preeminent.” Now stop and think for a minute about what the classified version of this report must say!
Many do not realize that the United States fell to third place (behind Japan and China) in patents issued. While that is only one measure, it is an important one given all that is at stake. The recognition and recommendations in this report should not be so shocking. Back in 2004 you could see this happening. When you add the theft of our intellectual property and research data to the view painted by this report, the picture becomes very ugly. All in all this is one report worth reading carefully and pushing our leaders until they properly address the underlying issues as soon as possible.