Aspen Cybersecurity Group Proposes a New Path for U.S. Innovation Leadership

October 2, 2019

Report calls for the U.S. government, private sector, and academia to chart a new course to maintain global leadership and embrace the values that propel American innovation

David Forscey
Managing Director

Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Aspen Institute


Washington, DC, October 2, 2019—The Aspen Cybersecurity Group today released a new report, “An Innovation Challenge for the United States,” a revealing look at where America stands today on innovation leadership since the post-World War II era. The report explores the conditions that cemented the United States at the frontier of the world’s technological transformation and introduces a series of workable measures to maintain that global position. It was released at this year’s Aspen Cyber Summit in New York City on October 2, 2019.

The Aspen Cybersecurity Group is the nation’s leading cross-sector, public-private cybersecurity forum comprising former government officials, Capitol Hill leaders, industry executives, and respected voices from academia, journalism, and civil society that work to translate pressing cybersecurity conversations into action. The group is co-chaired by U.S. Representative Will Hurd (R-TX), former White House Homeland Security Advisor Lisa O. Monaco, and IBM Chairman, President, and CEO Ginni Rometty.

“The United States is not predetermined to lead the world in technology—nor are countries that share our commitment to the rule of law,” said John Carlin, Aspen Cyber Program Chair and former Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “World War II created a unique scenario that provided our nation with decades of innovation leadership. If we and our partners do not act now with purpose to maintain that edge, we will lose it.”

“We need an innovation moonshot,” said Aspen Cybersecurity Group co-chair and former White House Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco. “American innovation and values should be leading the technology that secures us and our prosperity for decades to come.”

The report identifies the most critical innovation challenges facing the U.S, including a lack of a present-day geopolitical rival to spur innovation, a risk averse mindset, and the worrying decline in R&D investment both at the federal level and in the private sector. The authors lay out a series of recommendations to set the U.S. on the path toward solidifying and increasing its innovation leadership. Among the key suggestions:

  • Build consensus: The U.S. government and the private sector should collaborate to build a national consensus and momentum behind specific research priorities.
  • Increase research funding: The federal government should bring its share of basic research funding nationwide to at least 50% for foundational scientific research and develop a strategy to guide grantmaking.
  • Promote free trade policies: The U.S. must protect valuable intellectual property while avoiding protectionist policies that stifle trade or weaken the economy.
  • Encourage immigration: Congress and the Administration should work together to create an immigration system that makes the U.S. a magnet for immigrants across the world.
  • Invest in education: We must continue to align educational instruction and access with innovation priorities.

The report is available online at

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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