The White House’s National Security Council released a list of 20 advanced technologies considered to be critical to the country’s national security position, including military, intelligence and economic interests, for which it seeks to protect. Among those on the list are artificial intelligence, quantum information science, semiconductors, advanced computing, bio-tech, and aero-engine technology. This is the first government wide directive for federal agencies to give priority to protecting a centrally designated set of technologies.

Included with the guidelines is also a report that gives government agencies specific strategies on how to prevent unauthorized access to these technologies by adversaries. One such strategy is for the private sector to consider national security implications of pursuits that involve critical technology.  Another is for implementing a strong export control system that regulates which U.S. technologies may be shipped overseas. 

One impetus for such guidelines is China and Russia’s ongoing race against the U.S. For example, it has not gone unnoticed that China has been spending heavily in an effort to surpass the U.S. in various technological areas. What is more, in the report, it explains that the spending appears to be for “employing means at include stealing technology, coercing companies to disclose intellectual property, undercutting free and fair market, failing to provide reciprocal access in research and development projects and promoting authoritarian practices that run counter to democratic values.” 

The report also notes that since 1980, the federal government’s level of spending on research and development projects has fallen below private section enterprises. Along with the above objective, the U.S. seeks to reinvigorate its own efforts and investment in innovation.