This article originally appeared in War on the Rocks.
Americans are not equipped with the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills that they need to succeed in the face of technological change. Although the United States used to lead globally in STEM skills, it now ranks 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Only 36 percent of high school students are prepared for college-level science courses, and only about a third of U.S. students believe they will graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the job market and workplace.
The United States must simultaneously focus on cultivating its own talent pool to not only compete with China, but also to maintain technological leadership for decades to come.
The concerns in the United States about the national security implications of technological competitiveness are well-founded. Chinese President Xi has publicly stated his ambitions for China’s technological dominance by 2025. The Chinese Communist Party has continued its illiberal use of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) for mass surveillance, data collection, and furthering its military objectives. China is also producing more STEM graduates, which could ensure that Beijing outpaces the United States, and carves out a competitive advantage in research that drives technological development in key areas, such as advanced manufacturing and space-related technologies.
Read the full article from War on the Rocks.
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