Virtual Library

Our virtual library is an online repository of all of the reports, papers, and briefings that IST has produced, as well as works that have influenced our thinking.

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Memo

Roadmap to Potential Prohibition of Ransomware Payments

Ransomware Task Force Co-Chairs

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Reports

Unlocking U.S. Technological Competitiveness: Evaluating Initial Solutions to Public-Private Misalignments

Ben Purser, Pavneet Singh

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Reports

Public Private Partnerships to Combat Ransomware: An inquiry into three case studies and best practices

Elizabeth Vish, Georgeanela Flores Bustamante

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Reports

Unlocking U.S. Technological Competitiveness: Public-Private Misalignments in Biotechnology, Energy, and Quantum Sectors

Ben Purser, Pavneet Singh

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Reports

Effects of Electromagnetic Pulses on Communication Infrastructure: An IST Primer

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Reports

How Does Access Impact Risk? Assessing AI Foundation Model Risk Along a Gradient of Access

Zoë Brammer, along with contributors from the AI Foundation Model Access Working Group

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Fact Sheet

DOD and SBA Launch the Small Business Investment Company Critical Technology (SBICCT) Initiative

Strategic Balancing Initiative

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We also welcome additional suggestions from readers, and will consider adding further resources as so much of our work has come through crowd-sourced collaboration already. If, for any chance you are an author whose work is listed here and you do not wish it to be listed in our repository, please, let us know.

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Unlocking U.S. Technological Competitiveness: Evaluating Initial Solutions to Public-Private Misalignments

Ben Purser, Pavneet Singh

SUMMARY

The Strategic Balancing Initiative (SBI) at the Institute for Security and Technology (IST) works to overcome public-private misalignments in the technology development ecosystem to accelerate American and likeminded technological strength. This is especially important in light of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) focus on leading in emerging technology domains and utilizing the resulting technological capabilities to pursue its authoritarian interests at home and abroad. Ultimately, SBI aims to gain understanding, raise awareness, shape behavior, and deliver solutions to this set of strategic challenges. 

Launched in 2023, this particular SBI effort is organized into separate working groups on three key technologies: biotech, energy, and quantum—each composed of public- and private-sector experts and stakeholders in those respective fields. Over the research period, each working group will convene three times, building and iterating from the previous work and generating concept papers after each round. The process will culminate in a capstone report and event.

The February 2024 report, Unlocking U.S. Technological Competitiveness: Public-Private Misalignments in Biotechnology, Energy, and Quantum Sectors summarized conclusions from the first round of working group discussions about the misalignments hindering innovation and proposed potential solutions, including options that would be useful across all three sectors. Those cross-cutting concepts were that the private sector would benefit from better access to government capital and government infrastructure (e.g., access to Department of Energy laboratories) and clarification of existing government innovation programs and how to leverage them. 

Building on this work, the SBI team convened a second round of working group meetings to expand upon and further develop these concepts. Specifically, this round focused on examining potential ways to address the misalignments identified in the first round. These misalignments are to be expected; the last time the United States required intense collaboration between stakeholders from the U.S. government, private industry, and academia was at the height of the Cold War. Since then, financial, policy, and technological paradigms have changed. Unlike Cold War-era innovation, the private sector largely drives organic development of financial and technological capability, while the U.S. government has tended to take a back seat, particularly in technology domains. 

However, as the first and second working group sessions highlighted and as stakeholder input and SBI research indicates, public policy tools exist to bridge certain misalignments between emerging technology companies and the policy apparatus. In order to unlock innovation, the U.S. government needs the ability to evaluate the existing tools and understand how they can be repurposed to better reflect the needs and trade-offs of the current technology development ecosystem. For example, across all working groups, the common thread from stakeholders regarding the accessibility of public capital is that U.S. government programs do not match up with the needs of different companies at different stages of maturity. There is a gap in financing vernacular, a lack of understanding of the startup technology development lifecycle, and a resulting set of problems with program implementation that lead to missed opportunities. Moreover, the tools that do exist are not paired with longer-term procurement or broader market access policies to ensure that companies developing in priority technology sectors will have a pathway to enduring competitiveness.

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