Economic and National Security

The final session will focus on ways to exploit path-breaking technologies to meet new defense needs. We will discuss the importance of information technologies to training and equipping our forces, ensuring battlefield communications, and to designing the most modern weapons in a cost-effective manner.

We will focus on programs to capture commercially developed technologies that have military applications. Finally, we will explore the value of investments in our national technology base.

As you see in your notebooks, white papers have been drafted to correspond with plenary sessions. Over this two-day period, drafting groups will meet to revise these white papers to reflect comments made during plenary and breakout sessions.

Drafters will be asked to supplement the papers with their responses to three cross-cutting questions: First, "To what degree do we rely on cooperation and to what degree do we rely on technological advantage to achieve our policy aim?" Second, "What is the role of federal agencies, labs, industry, universities, and NGOs in meeting the policy objective?" Third, "What are the obstacles to success be they political, budgetary, bureaucratic, or diplomatic?"

The white papers thus revised and supplemented will then comprise the chapters of the Forum report which will serve as the basis of a new National Security Science and Technology Strategy. That document will be submitted to the President and the Vice President. Once approved by them, it will be sent to you.

Policy Context

The point of departure for our work together is the President's National Security Strategy. I would like to make a few key points about the Administration's objectives, its methods, its assumptions in pursuing this strategy.

First, we believe that our nation's security derives as much from economic strength as it does from military might. Military readiness is a top priority. So too is economic revitalization and the expansion of markets. In this conception, science and technology have a central role to play.

Second, we believe that the costs of responding to conflict outweigh the costs of preventing conflict from occurring in the first place. Problems like endemic poverty, environmental degradation, food scarcity demand the sustained engagement of many nations, rather than the occasional interventions of one.

Third, having said that, we see little evidence of a domestic political consensus on this point. The politics of national security support dramatic interventions in times of crisis. The hard work of preventing that crisis has no constituency. As we speak, budgetary decisions are being made on Capital Hill that may deny us the tools of preventive diplomacy.

Fourth, it is our view that the problems we are trying to address cannot be overcome without expanding economies and broadening participation in those economies. Hence our emphasis on sustainable development and a growing role of science and technology cooperation, technology transfer, and the advancement of knowledge.

Fifth, and finally, we recognize that the federal government is but one player on the policy scene. As we consider the importance of science and technology to policy goals, I hope that we will gain appreciation for the significance of non-state actors. One need only look at the role played by Western scientists and scholars who, throughout the Cold War, interacted with their Soviet counterparts. [Their motivations may have been professional, self-interest, or humanitarian. Their effect was geopolitical. And,] by sustaining these professional ties in the post-Soviet era, they serve to strengthen the Russian scientific community that is a force for political reform and whose participation in the Russian economy is essential to economic reform.

Corporate America has long engaged in commerce in China, where it is taping into a growing, and often Western educated, entrepreneurial class that is very much a part of China's future.

It is because of this involvement and because your knowledge, your experience and your judgment that we so value your participation in this exercise.

As scientists, engineers, and scholars, you all know the importance of sound scientific advice to the formulation of security policy. In the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson years, [throughout the post-war era] scientists made prevention a central tenet of military planning then it was the prevention of nuclear war. They played a decisive role in integrating arms control into the security agenda. The role for scientists to help shape our nation's response to new challenges is as important in the post-Cold War era.

You can help provide the Science and Technology underpinnings to a strategy of prevention. In this case, the threat is more diffuse, but prevention is still the best cure. You can help us identify it, address it, plan around it.

Specifically, you can:

Because of the importance of the topics and of your contributions, both the President and Vice President have chosen to join us. The Vice President will be closing the conference at 4:30 tomorrow. Because the President is in Atlanta en route to Haiti, he has taken advantage of technology to allow him to open the forum today. So, before we roll up our sleeves and begin our work together, I introduce a videotape of the President of the United States, who will now give the Forum its charge.

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