May 24, 2022

New CNAS Report: "Reboot: Framework for a New American Industrial Policy"

Washington, May 24, 2022—Today, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) released a new report, "Reboot: Framework for a New American Industrial Policy," from authors Martijn Rasser, senior fellow and director of the Technology and National Security Program; Megan Lamberth, associate fellow; Hannah Kelley, research assistant; and Ryan Johnson, former intern.

This report lays out what an American industrial policy is and what it is not, focuses on why the nation needs an industrial policy strategy, and offers a schema for how the United States should craft such a strategy. The report also examines the history of U.S. industrial policy.

In the report, the authors assert that policymakers need a new response to the geopolitical and geoeconomic reality that America faces today.

"For decades, the U.S. government has maintained its Cold War approach—staying primarily hands-off as the private sector molded the economy and developed an integrated, globalized system," write the authors. "This strategy worked against a Soviet adversary that was disconnected from the rest of the world, and therefore ill-equipped to benefit from the global economic system. But this is no longer the reality. The United States now faces China—an economic, technological, and military power that is fully integrated into the globalized system. America’s economic and security toolkit—predominantly shaped by the Cold War—is insufficient for the geopolitical competition the country faces."

The report describes a framework comprised of six distinct yet connected actions that will form the foundation for future specific, actionable policy recommendations in subsequent reports.

The actions are as follows:

  1. Issue a clarion call to articulate a vision for what winning the strategic competition means for the United States;
  2. Analyze successes with ongoing monitoring and evaluation of inputs and processes relevant to technology strategy and industrial policy;
  3. Align government and industry by funding new initiatives for research and development in priority scientific and technological areas;
  4. Create authorities to adjust policies as needed, to ensure dynamic and adaptable industrial policies are in place;
  5. Accept and mitigate risk, since new cutting-edge capabilities require high-risk, high-reward research;
  6. Leverage allies, because American industrial policy cannot succeed without robust international partnerships.

The goal of this report, and future reports as part of this project, is to lay out a coherent and comprehensive pathway for successful government engagement with industry to ensure long-term economic competitiveness while safeguarding U.S. national security.

For more information or to schedule an interview with the report authors, please contact Cameron Edinburgh at cedinburgh@cnas.org