In his 1989 classic The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers Paul Kennedy wrote: “To be a Great Power—by definition, a state capable of holding its own against any other nation—demands a flourishing economic base.”
By that definition, the U.S. faces significant challenges and is at risk of losing its 75-year great power status. If the U.S. is to stay ahead of China militarily and technologically, it will need to put in place a new national innovation (and production) system, because the current one, including the defense industrial base, suffers from serious shortcomings. Now facing a multi-decade, great power conflict with China, it’s time to establish a revised and renewed U.S. national innovation system that supports both defense and commercial innovation and production.
ITIF hosted a panel with a keynote speech by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, followed by an expert discussion with leading defense and technology experts about the health of the U.S. innovation and production system, including the defense industrial base, and what the Biden administration and Congress should do to strengthen it. Framing this discussion, ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson has authored an article in the National Defense University’s journal PRISM, “Time for a New National Innovation System for Security and Prosperity.”