We submitted written testimony to the House Select Committee on the CCP for its July 26th hearing on “Commanding Heights: Ensuring U.S. Leadership in the Critical and Emerging Technologies of the 21st Century.”

The full text may be found here, and the executive summary is below.

The United States is in the throes of a long-term, peacetime competition against a Communist threat.

This is a competitive dynamic not unlike that of the Cold War. But this is not the Cold War. The world is different; so is the adversary. The threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) presents a new strategic challenge: The reality of today’s economic trends (i.e., globalization) and technology trends (e.g., information technology) means that the Cold War playbook of containment cannot be relied upon against the CCP.

China’s “State led, Enterprise driven” approach to economic competition and “military-civil fusion” strategy for power projection demand a new strategic response from the United States. The emerging technology competition, one of the most critical fronts in today’s great power face off, offers a microcosm of this reality and need. It is insufficient – and in many instances self-defeating – to assume that the US-China technology competition is a straight-forward innovation race. Beijing’s strategy subverts traditional assumptions and modes assumed by that strategic framing. US policy should orient around a strategy of activation – rather than containment – with key lines of effort aimed at:

  • Revitalizing technology and investment defenses better to target core nodes of China’s system;
  • Catalyzing American technological leadership from private sector excellence;
  • Aligning offensive and defensive actions (e.g., promotion and protection of technology development);
  • Embracing strategic alignment in diplomatic partnerships that will catalyze offense-defense elision, activate private sector excellence, and enable allied and partner targeting
  • of core nodes of China’s technology acquisition program and military-civil fusion strategy;
  • Defending in depth via signals to markets of the long-term costs associated with surrendering technological competitiveness to China.

The written testimony that follows addresses the character of today’s strategic competition, background on China’s approach to emerging technology and the CCP’s military-civil fusion strategy for converting science and technology (S&T) for military ends. The conclusion of this testimony advances a series of recommendations for directing US policy efforts to target core nodes in the PRC S&T system as a part of a broader strategy for long-term, peacetime competition.

By Nathan Picarsic and Emily de La Bruyère