Innovation Race: U.S. Public and Private Efforts to Outpace China


NSI is excited to host an event to foster discussion around policy positions and recommendations found in its latest publication, Addressing the National Security Threat of Chinese Technology Innovation. This panel of experts will expand upon the policy solutions found in NSI’s latest paper and explain how the U.S. and our allies can lead in free-market innovation and what Congress can do to support and promote U.S. technological leadership. The panel discussion will feature national security policy and industry experts and will take place in-person on Capitol Hill on November 2nd, 2023.

Register here!


  • Carl Holshouser, Senior Vice President & Corporate Secretary, TechNet
  • Robert Strayer, Executive Vice President of Policy Information Technology Industry Council
  • Liza Tobin, Senior Director for Economy Special Competitive Studies Project
  • Jamil N. Jaffer, Founder & Executive Director, National Security Institute, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

About Our Speakers:


Carl Holshouser serves as TechNet’s Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary. With nearly two decades of organizational leadership, government relations, and advisory experience, Carl is a seasoned corporate strategist who is best known for building and leading teams, driving revenue growth, and mobilizing campaigns and coalitions to deliver significant legislative results and favorable regulatory outcomes against the most challenging political environments. Carl is a leading voice for the technology industry and is frequently quoted in publications such as PoliticoThe Wall Street JournalForbesAxiosThe New York TimesThe Washington PostPunchbowl, and Bloomberg. In 2022, Carl was recognized as a top lobbyist by both The Hill and the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics. Carl joined TechNet from PwC, where he served as a strategic policy adviser to Fortune 500 companies and was co-leader of the firm’s Trade Policy Platform. Prior to PwC, Carl served as Senior Director of Government Relations for Visa from 2013-2019, where he led technology policy issues for the global payments company. Carl had previous lobbying roles with Textron Systems, Capitol Partners Inc., and started his career in the office of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). Carl is a past Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Cyber Security Alliance (2017-2019), where he also served as Treasurer. Carl is a past Chairman of TechNet’s Federal Public Policy Committee (2017-2019) and past Chairman of the Government Relations Committee at the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) (2018-2020). Carl is an active investor in tech startups, serves on the board of the Louise Batz Patient Safety Foundation, and is a high-honors graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he was an Archer Fellow.


Rob Strayer serves as the Executive Vice President of Policy at the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). He leads ITI’s efforts to shape technology policy around the globe to enable innovation, competition, and economic growth, while supporting governments efforts to achieve their public policy objectives. With a team of experienced professionals at ITI, he is responsible for developing and executing policy strategies in every region of the world and on a wide range of digital technology issues, including privacy and data protection, cybersecurity, trade and market access, standards, artificial intelligence, and taxation. Prior to joining ITI, Strayer served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. State Department. In that role, he led dozens of bilateral and multilateral dialogues with foreign governments on digital economy regulatory and cybersecurity issues. He was named as an ambassador by the President to lead the 90-plus person U.S. delegation to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2018. Before joining the State Department, Strayer was the general counsel for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also practiced telecommunications law at WilmerHale and clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Strayer received a law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School, and earned his B.A. in Economics, summa cum laude, from Denison University.

Liza Tobin is the senior director of research and analysis for the economy at the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP). Before joining SCSP, she served on the National Security Council staff as China director, where she led the development of multiple US strategies and policies related to China, including trade and economics, climate and the environment, military issues, and China’s influence beyond the Indo-Pacific. Before serving at the National Security Council, Ms. Tobin worked for more than a decade in various capacities as a China specialist for the US government, including as a senior adviser at the US Indo-Pacific Command and an economic analyst at the CIA, and in various roles in the private sector and academia. She holds an MA in international relations with concentrations in China studies and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, a graduate certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, and a BA in China studies and biblical studies from Gordon College.

Jamil N. Jaffer (moderator) is the founder and executive director of the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. He previously served as chief counsel and senior adviser to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, among other roles, as an associate counsel to President George W. Bush in the White House.