(Madmaxer/Getty Images) As Congress considers a bill to aid our technology competition with China, it must work to ensure that the CCP doesn’t just steal more of our secrets.
The Senate is moving fast to pass the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which will spend significant taxpayer dollars to help Washington compete technologically with China. The bill must include strong “research security” provisions to stop China’s rapacious program of acquiring science and technological know-how. U.S. science and technology programs have not been well protected from Beijing to date, and as Congress pumps more government funding into the U.S. research enterprise, such laxity in protecting American intellectual property (IP) can no longer be tolerated. While other costs to U.S. national power are more difficult to measure, the U.S. Trade Representative estimated in 2018 that Chinese theft of American IP costs U.S. firms between $225 billion and $600 billion every year. General Keith Alexander, a former National Security Agency director, has called China’s technology theft “the greatest transfer of wealth in human history.”
Members of Congress should revisit the full range and scope of the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign-technology-and-science-acquisition programs and address them in the bill. A crucial fact for congressmen to consider is that acquisition of foreign technology is not an incidental or secondary concern of Beijing’s grand strategy; it is a core component of Beijing’s ambition to be the world’s leading power. The CCP believes that erosion of the U.S. technological base is a requirement for its grand designs. Indeed, General Secretary Xi Jinping has made acquiring “key core technologies” one of his foremost goals.
Foreign-Technology-Acquisition Strategies and Programs
While the CCP long ago began acquiring foreign technology to address its own gaps, technology-acquisition programs were given new importance in 2016 when Xi Jinping announced the “Innovation-Driven Development Strategy,” a goal of making China a “science and technology innovation power” by 2050. The IDDS drives foreign-technology acquisition through well-capitalized government investment-“guidance” funds and organizations such as the State Industry Innovational Alliances, which bridge military-industrial groups, academia, and Chinese companies to implement government priorities. Other guiding
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