The risks are not just economic that hurt our knowledge- and technology-intensive economy; It is a tactic that threatens our national and global security. We need our powerful innovation ecosystem to be more agile and stronger against them.
Our federal government has a key role to play here that only it can play. Risk assessments at the federal level should be more comprehensive and integrated, examining the impact of one risk on another. In conjunction with universities and industries, the government coordinating body should plan for risks that may combine with other risks – and provide strategic focus and funding for inventions and innovations designed to respond to and mitigate them as part of an overall innovation policy.
When a crisis arises, the federal government needs to be able to mobilize resources, and to prevent losses – from research through production and distribution – to quickly mobilize all aspects of our innovation ecosystem.
Our current crisis sets a precedent for the future: In March 2020, as the epidemic broke out, the Winsler Polytechnic Institute, MIT, IBM, the Department of Energy National Laboratories and others quickly joined forces to form the Covid-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. A number of important findings have emerged from consortium projects, including the identification of reusable drug compounds to combat Covid-19. With the consortium as a model, the National Science and Technology Council has now published a blueprint for the National Strategic Computing Reserve to provide standing computing support for future crises.
Strengthening supply chains
If we are to learn from the epidemic, the strategic vulnerabilities that must be addressed include, of course, the global supply chain. For efficient and cost-saving purposes, a number of them proved insufficiently resilient in emergencies. The federal government should determine which barriers can overcome the cascading results and plan for the roads around them, in part by improving our ports, expanding our local reserves, working with our partners to establish new sources of major cargo, And by supporting local production capacity for critical. Supplies
After experiencing a shortage of everything from life-saving personal protective devices to swabs and reagents for testing during an epidemic, the United States clearly needs to focus on medical supplies and key pharmaceutical ingredients. Other critical products include semiconductors, which have a lot of innovations; Their shortage has forced the plant to close in the automotive industry. A particular problem in this case is that 92% of the most advanced chips are produced in Taiwan. As China insists that Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland is inevitable, the dangers here include conflict between the great powers and disruption of industries around the world.
While the United States continues to lead in the research and development aspects of the semiconductor industry, it is at a disadvantage in manufacturing, which is extremely capital intensive and which costs less in other countries due to government subsidies. We need the federal government to take action here. The Innovation and Competition Act passed by the Senate, which includes $ 52 billion to boost domestic chip production, gives a good start.
We also need to address potential barriers to raw materials that could greatly undermine our economic and national security. China has almost a monopoly on some of the materials used in advanced technology. It is the world’s leading supplier of so-called rare earth elements – minerals that are crucial for all types of electronic products. Cobalt and lithium, used in lithium-ion batteries, are also key, especially as we move toward more use in electric vehicles. China refines an estimated 58% of the world’s lithium and 65% of the world’s cobalt, most of which is mined by Chinese-owned companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some of these are local sources, such as Cobalt Idaho. But identifying alternative methods of processing presents an important way to solve this problem in the short term.
In the long run, we should invest in research and development to help bypass such chokepoints by finding ways to use more earth-rich materials. And we should also explore new content. The Federal Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) was launched during the Obama administration in 2011, when I was a member of PCAST, to use powerful data and computational tools to discover new materials through experiments અને and to put them to commercial use more quickly. Currently, MGI is working to integrate the widely accessible Content Innovation Infrastructure, where tools and knowledge are shared to accelerate research, development, certification and deployment.
Climate crisis and beyond
Other areas of economic and national security importance that could mitigate climate change – from the direct capture of carbon dioxide into the air to small, safe state-of-the-art nuclear reactors – are commercial-scale fusion energy. We also need to look at such systems in terms of our built environment, which generates about 40% of the annual global carbon emissions through construction. Our cities are not optimized for sustainability, climate resilience or human well-being. We need state-of-the-art solutions – renewable energy systems, sensitive construction platforms, new materials – to decarbonize the systems of our daily lives and ensure that they all benefit.
Our vulnerabilities in cybersecurity કરીને especially in physical systems that allow bad artists to be severely harmed from afar સૂચ suggest that we naturally need to work harder to build secure quantum communication technology and move toward quantum internet. To protect our vulnerabilities and mitigate the consequences of disasters, we must advance both artificial intelligence – with its ability to predict based on incomplete information – and quantum computation, which lends itself to solving complex optimization problems.
Epidemic preparedness and early warning systems for health hazards are also a clear priority. We have under-funded basic research on infectious diseases and should improve it. We already have significant disease surveillance capabilities that need to be adjusted in a more strategic and integrated way.