There is no question that the private sector plays a highly visible role in national security and foreign policy – from tracking or mitigating information operations, revolutionizing intelligence collection and analysis through the expanded use of open-source intelligence, or connecting human rights advocates within repressive regimes – and that private-sector innovation underpins America’s economic strength.
However, the positive impacts of technology companies and their critical role in promoting U.S. national security interests are rarely acknowledged. Tech industry leaders often receive brutal political lashings at the hands of members of Congress during lengthy interrogation-filled hearings as executive branch officials constantly brainstorm shifting regulatory and enforcement policies. Government regulators at both the federal and state level are also actively working to break up the largest tech companies. These efforts could greatly dampen the industry’s ability to innovate and hugely impact the way Americans live their lives and how the U.S. government operates, including protecting U.S. national security.
A core issue that must be addressed is how the U.S. government can better work with, enable, and incentivize technology private sector actors to assist in national security efforts and support democracy and human rights globally?