Building the analytic capacity to support critical technology strategy

Paper by Erica R.H. Fuchs: “Existing federal agencies relevant to the science and technology enterprise are appropriately focused on their missions, but the U.S. lacks the intellectual foundations, data infrastructure, and analytics to identify opportunities where the value of investment across missions (e.g., national security, economic prosperity, social well-being) is greater than the sum of its parts.

The U.S. government lacks systematic mechanisms to assess the nation’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in technology and to assess the long chain of suppliers involved in producing products critical to national missions.

Two examples where modern data and analytics—leveraging star interdisciplinary talent from across the nation—and a cross-mission approach could transform outcomes include 1) the difficulties the federal government had in facilitating the production and distribution of personal protective equipment in spring 2020, and 2) the lack of clarity about the causes and solutions to the semiconductor shortage. Going forward, the scale-up of electric vehicles promises similar challenges…

The critical technology analytics (CTA) would identify 1) how emerging technologies and institutional innovations could potentially transform timely situational awareness of U.S. and global technology capabilities, 2) opportunities for innovation to transform U.S. domestic and international challenges, and 3) win-win opportunities across national missions. The program would be strategic and forward-looking, conducting work on a timeline of months and years rather than days and weeks, and would seek to generalize lessons from individual cases to inform the data and analytics capabilities that the government needs to build to support cross-mission critical technology policy…(More)”.