For decades, America’s position in the world has relied on the principles outlined in our founding documents, underpinned by our economic strength and technological leadership. As near-peer adversaries challenge the primacy of America’s innovation ecosystem, we risk losing this competitive edge. The U.S. needs an education system capable of training the workforce of tomorrow to keep our innovation lead.
To address this critical challenge, the Aspen Strategy Group recently convened three roundtable discussions focused on the intersection of innovation, education, and national security.
Since its founding in 1984, the Aspen Strategy Group has provided a resolutely nonpartisan forum for decision-makers and thought leaders to consider the key foreign policy and national security issues facing the United States. For this project, we convened a high-level group of creative thinkers from the business, education, nonprofit, and national security sectors to transcend the silos in which we often operate and find new ways to strengthen America’s K-12, university, and career and technical education ecosystem to secure our technological edge.
To maintain our competitive advantage, the United States needs a two-pronged approach to its innovation strategy. We must invest both in the sectors that are most critical to our national security—including artificial intelligence, 5G/6G technologies, semiconductors, quantum computing, and more—and, importantly, in the human talent that will support those sectors and the innovations to come. Therefore, the U.S. must create a cohesive strategy that aligns its national security with a first-rate K-12 and higher education system.
This report summarizes the main ideas from the roundtable discussions, though it does not necessarily reflect a consensus of all the meeting participants. We hope that the policy recommendations that follow will contribute to the efforts to improve our education system and ensure a domestic pipeline of talent for the challenges and jobs of the future.