Closing the gap between technology leaders and policy makers will require a radically different approach from the defense establishment.
A silent divide is weakening America’s national security, and it has nothing to do with President Donald Trump or party polarization. It’s the growing gulf between the tech community in Silicon Valley and the policy-making community in Washington.
Beyond all the acrimonious headlines, Democrats and Republicans share a growing alarm over the return of great-power conflict. China and Russia are challenging American interests, alliances, and values—through territorial aggression; strong-arm tactics and unfair practices in global trade; cyber theft and information warfare; and massive military buildups in new weapons systems such as Russia’s “Satan 2” nuclear long-range missile, China’s autonomous weapons, and satellite-killing capabilities to destroy our communications and imagery systems in space. Since Trump took office, huge bipartisan majorities in Congress have passed tough sanctions against Russia, sweeping reforms to scrutinize and block Chinese investments in sensitive American technology industries, and record defense-budget increases. You know something’s big when senators like the liberal Ron Wyden and the
In Washington, alarm bells are ringing. Here in Silicon Valley, not so much. “Ask people to finish the sentence, ‘China is a ____ of the United States,’” said the former National Economic Council chairman Keith Hennessey. “Policy makers from both parties are likely to answer with ‘competitor,’ ‘strategic rival,’ or even ‘adversary,’ while Silicon Valley leaders will probably tell you China is a ‘supplier,’ ‘investor,’ and especially ‘potential market.’”