July 26, 2019

America must invest in expertise and skills to compete with China

By Elsa B. Kania

For the United States, a smart and serious approach to competition with China requires improving our understanding of this key rival. American strategy must be informed by careful assessments commensurate with the complexity of this “new era” of relations between the United States and China. There is no shortage of issues for which expertise on China is essential, from trade and technology to defense and counterintelligence.

For American policies to be designed and implemented appropriately requires leveraging the insights of those with relevant skill sets, including language proficiency and knowledge, which can remain scarce and in high demand. The American national security community must prepare for the cognitive and human capital challenges of great power rivalry.

The government should address impediments to improving expertise on China within its workforce. The broken security clearance process has presented impediments to hiring and must be improved. The delays and protraction of investigations for anyone who has extensive international experience, combined with the intense scrutiny of those who have family overseas that often results in outright denials, can discourage Americans eager to serve our country or even deny them the opportunity to do so.

Read the full article in The Hill.

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