Global Competition Project (GCP)

Global Competition Project (GCP)

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About The Global Competition Project (GCP)

The Project was launched to explore what the United States must do to continue to thrive as a global leader, economically and otherwise, driving toward a societal-level understanding and approach to competition at the intersection of policy, industry, and science and technology.

To do so, the Project is commissioning a spectrum of experts from diverse fields across the Potomac Institute’s network and beyond. Their purpose is to highlight and elevate issues surrounding both the challenges and opportunities associated with societal-level competition today and in the future. What are the greatest vulnerabilities to consider? What is at stake for the United States? How do we best leverage our strengths?

Ultimately, the Project’s goal is to develop foundational reference products (through research, discussion, events, and papers, etc.) for national security professionals, policymakers, industry leaders, and others to use in addressing the most consequential aspects of near-peer competition.

A New Genre of Competition: Society-level engagement in the Information Age

For the United States to continue to thrive as a global leader, economically and otherwise, a societal-level understanding and approach to competition must be invigorated. The issue is a multifaceted, multigenerational challenge just in its infancy of being recognized and addressed and will therefore require priority in the public square and private sector if we are to be successful in years to come.

The current era—the Information Age—is dominated by unprecedented global interconnectedness and economic interdependence, at an all-time high across human history. A single person can wield a megaphone to millions (or billions) via a single social media post. A small ripple in one nation’s markets can result in a tsunami in others and vice versa. Thoughtful and deliberative strategies employed by competitors can therefore be exceedingly effective at swaying minds and money with unprecedented reach, precision, and impact. Unfortunately, examples of such efforts have also devolved into political and economic manipulation and coercion, to include China and Russia as culprits.

While the United States has competed effectively at a societal level before, the stakes and players were different. We did not depend on the Soviet Union economically or otherwise during the Cold War, nor did we depend on Germany or Japan in a similar manner during World War II. Today however, we are economic codependents with China. And China, is deliberately competing with the United States at the societal level, in it for the long-haul, leveraging an enduring patience built over several millennia. While the United States does not “enjoy” the “benefit” and ruthless efficiency of an autocracy in aligning all aspects of society toward strategic goals, American-style democracy and free enterprise have proven themselves repeatedly to be the essential spark for unbridled ingenuity—the key to unrivaled flourishing among the world’s nations.

Our short history has demonstrated that—ingenuity—inventiveness, imagination, and the free flow of ideas, especially when translated to the advance of impactful science and technology (S&T) on the economy, national security, and overall quality of life, is core to our unprecedented success as a country. This time is no different, especially when S&T is complimented by sound policy and an engaged private sector. The intersection of all three, illuminated via the compilation of insight gathered from a diverse field of experts, will provide a vital tool to understanding and developing a coherent society-level approach to competition in the Information Age.

 

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Never in human history has an individual had the ability to communicate with so many others so easily. With technologies like the Internet, personal computers, and smartphones, a powerful reality has emerged: A simple message or piece of information, regardless of its origin or truth, can lend to unraveling the stability and success of a nation. A single posting to social media, can sway millions, if not billions. Indeed, the world is at an inflection point with regard access to and proliferation and manipulation of information at scale.

America’s global competitors have recognized and embraced the opportunities that come with that inflection. They have implemented strategic messaging campaigns to project narratives to help them pursue foreign policy and other national objectives, which include manipulating information to incite political and economic destabilization on the international stage. Examples range from Russia’s use of social media to manipulate the U.S. elections in 2016 and 2020, to the extensive Chinese censorship and disinformation campaigns used to cover up the imprisonment of ethnic minorities in concentration camps, to explaining the disappearance of political dissidents by the state. Each instance represents the shaping of information to influence thoughts and actions via widely available technology platforms; deliberate efforts to drive policy agendas. Strategic communication is a clearly elevated means to gain leverage in today’s globally competitive environment. However, the consequences, to include technological, biological, and psychological aspects of such campaigns and en masse information manipulation, have only just begun to be recognized by the United States.

MEandSupply

November 3, 2021

The headlines are plentiful with stories of serious supply chain issues that have erupted during the COVID-19 pandemic; disruptions and shortages have affected virtually every household in the country, bringing to light just how dependent Americans are on the global supply chain system and vulnerable to its shortfalls. Lack of product and increasing prices have impacted every American, from CEOs to line workers and even school children. The situation has spurred a substantial public dialog regarding the implications of our supply chain vulnerabilities and what they mean for future U.S. prosperity and security.

On November 3, 2021, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies hosted an event focused on this challenge as part of its Global Competition Project (GCP) series. A panel of subject matter experts examined the state of U.S. supply chains and how they factor into our nation’s ability to gain and maintain competitive advantages on the global stage. Specific attention was paid to the state of microelectronic supply chains due to its key role in both the economic prosperity and national security of the country. Dr. Michael Fritze, Vice President at the Potomac Institute, facilitated the discussion of panel members which also included the Honorable Alan R. Shaffer, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense and Potomac Institute Board of Regents member; Dr. Jay Lewis, Partner, Silicon Projects at Microsoft; and Mr. Mike McGlone, Senior Commodity Strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence.

January 26th, 2022

Dr. Tim Welter led a panel consisting of the Honorable Al Shaffer (Potomac Institute), Professor Daniel Hastings (MIT), the Honorable Dr. Patricia Falcone (Lawrence Livermore National Lab), Ms. Joy Shanaberger (Boone Group), and Mr. Trevor Huffard (Potomac Institute). The subject of the conversation was education and its role in the competitiveness of the US on the global stage. General Al Gray and Dr. Jen Buss delivered introductory remarks.