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American Competitiveness & Economic Diplomacy

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Our ability to compete in a global economy, attract the world’s brightest workers and nurture a functional political system is slipping.

This weakness is now at a point where it threatens to erode the pillars upon which America’s national security rests.

Competitiveness-Square-Logo-150x150America’s competitiveness is now a matter of national security.

We need to acknowledge that current policies and objectives in the public and private sector, taken together, dangerously undercut America’s current and future global position through instability, inefficiency and risk.

America’s political and business leaders must understand that improving our nation’s competitiveness is an urgent priority with much higher stakes than is acknowledged today. Improving the country’s competitive position will require much more than assembling disparate policy initiatives and expecting them to deliver success.

Accordingly, ASP examines interrelated elements of American present vulnerabilities: business climate, infrastructure, national debt, labor market and immigration, defense industrial base, as well as education and healthcare. And turning these to the strengths they once were.

In keeping with ASP’s core mission of examining more than military might when assessing national security, the report also reframes one of the recurring questions of international relations: What factors really make us strong and safe?

Key Links:

Harvard Business School – American CompetitivenessScreen Shot 2013-02-10 at 12.41.52 PM

Harvard Business Review Special Edition 

HBS Survey on U.S. Competitiveness: Prosperity at Risk



    WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 32621 [post_author] => 17 [post_date] => 2015-02-05 15:55:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-02-05 20:55:38 [post_content] => International trade has returned to the forefront of American public discourse, but to what extent are the effects of trade on the national security interests of the United States taken into account when discussing the topic? To what extent can the standing of the US and its allies benefit from trade in a rapidly changing world? Trade is often looked at from a microeconomic perspective, but we need to zoom out to understand the long-term effects of trade on America’s standing in the world. To appreciate these effects is to look at them from a geopolitical angle. For their economic influence in the world, the US and its Western allies rely heavily on a liberal economic institutional framework that focuses on opening up markets worldwide, promoting free market values, and strengthening an international rules-based order. This order and its influence on emerging markets has faced considerable challenges since the turn of the century. Financial crises and volatile markets in both the US and Europe have damaged the reputation of the West as the apex of global economic stability. Rising economic powers outside of the West have openly questioned and challenged the very core mechanisms of the liberal economic framework. Members of the World Trade Organization have been trying to liberalize trade through The Doha Round since 2001, but they have only shown slight progress. The founding of the BRICS Bank -Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa- as an alternative to the World Bank in 2014 only proves how difficult it can be for traditional Western multilateral institutions to engage with rising powers. So where does trade come into play? Why is it so important for the US to double its efforts in the global trade arena? Promoting liberal democracy and free-market economics through trade have been quintessential to the establishment of American influence around the world. The United States is presented with the opportunity to close two of the world's largest free-trade agreements: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). These agreements aim to bolster economic growth both at home and abroad. But more importantly, they serve as a means to strengthen the foundations of free-market economics and a rules-based order by setting the standard for global trade practices. Because the combined size of the participating economies is so enormous relative to the world economy, TTIP and TPP have the potential to jumpstart the stalled Doha Round negotiations, and provide the US and its allies with momentum to push forward on trade liberalization globally. As the world’s largest economy, the US must look outward to ensure a strengthened multilateral system that raises standards, restore trust in the free-market system, signal commitment to critical allies, promote global stability and thereby serve its long-term national security interest. As US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman put it: "By leading on trade, we can promote a global order that reflects both our interests and our values." [post_title] => The Geopolitics of Trade [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-geopolitics-of-trade [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-03-20 19:33:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-03-20 23:33:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 759 [guid] => https://www.americansecurityproject.org/?page_id=32621 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => page [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw )
  • The Geopolitics of Trade
  • WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14098 [post_author] => 115 [post_date] => 2013-05-14 14:53:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-14 18:53:06 [post_content] =>

    ASP Logo 2AGU logo

    The American Security Project and the American Geophysical Union invite participants to join a new discussion forum:

    Leaders in Science and National Security

    science microscope

    ASP and AGU are cohosting this bipartisan & bicameral discussion series in order to foster conversation on how science underpins American national security.

    The forum features mid and upper level congressional staff for a candid discussion under Chatham House Rules. Active participation from attendees is encouraged. We will hear from different speakers at each event, and cover different aspects of science and national security policy. Future topics will likely cover energy, the Arctic, geo-engineering, climate change, natural hazards, Earth observations, and how science policy translates to national security strategy, among others.

    The first event was held on Monday, May 13, 2013, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building. Participants heard brief remarks from Dr. Jay Gulledge, Director of the Environmental Sciences Division at the Oak Ridge National Lab and Lt. General Norman Seip, USAF (Ret.). Following the speakers' remarks, the speakers and congressional staff engaged in a lively discussion about the important intersection between science and national security.

    ASP and AGU will cohost future events on a bimonthly basis. Stay tuned for the next event. If you would like to apply to join Leaders in Science and National Security, please email us at:



    The American Security Project is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy and research organization dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of a range of national security issues, promoting debate about the appropriate use of American power, and cultivating strategic responses to 21st century challenges.



    The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is a non-profit, non-partisan, professional, scientific organization with more than 62,000 members representing over 144 countries. AGU advances the Earth and space sciences through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. www.agu.org

    [post_title] => Science and National Security [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => science-national-security [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-03-20 19:35:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-03-20 23:35:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 759 [guid] => https://www.americansecurityproject.org/?page_id=14098 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => page [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
  • Science and National Security
  • WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10005 [post_author] => 115 [post_date] => 2012-06-27 17:49:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-06-27 21:49:10 [post_content] =>

    “The decision not to sign on to legal frameworks the rest of the world supports is central to the decline in American influence around the world.”

    Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

    What is it?

    The Law of the Sea Treaty (LOTS) , or the third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is an international agreement that came in being in 1982. It establishes a comprehensive set of rules concerning jurisdictional rights and methods of engagement in the world’s oceans. The United States has not yet ratified this treaty and currently navigates international waters according to customary international law. The treaty is currently up for ratification in the Senate.  

    The Law of the Sea Treaty is a U.S.-initiated agreement that dramatically extends American sovereignty off U.S. shores, protects vital U.S. economic interests and ensures global freedom of movement for U.S. military vessels.

      The United States has abided by its terms since the Reagan Administration, but cannot secure its rightful claims unless the Treaty is ratified by the U.S. Senate.  

    Why is it important?

    The Law of the Sea Treaty enjoys a broad coalition of support ranging from the Military to private industry to national security groups to environmental organizations to Democrats to Republicans. With ratification, America would gain:
    • Exclusive access to the full U.S. extended continental shelf, which, for example, extends up to 600 miles beyond the coast of Alaska, three times the current 200-mile limit.
    • The greatest expansion of U.S. marine resource sovereignty in the history of the United States.
    • A permanent seat – with veto power  on the international body that currently regulates access to ocean mineral resources in international waters.
    • Exclusive access to enormous natural wealth, including productive fisheries, abundant oil and natural gas resources and vast mineral deposits.
    • Universal recognition of the legal right for U.S. armed forces to move throughout and over the world’s oceans unimpeded by foreign jurisdiction in straits and economic zones.
    • An internationally recognized system for resolving commercial disputes in foreign waters while still preserving America’s sovereign right to address military disputes directly, rather than through an international body.
      The Navy, for instance has been a long time supporter of ratification and believes that this treaty protects the freedom of navigation by providing a legal framework for resolving international conflict on high seas. Major corporations such as Lockheed Martin also support the treaty since it legally secures large tracts of the Earth’s continental shelf for deep seabed mining purposes.

    This treaty would expand American sovereignty within an international legal structure.

    Its ratification has immense consequences for national security strategy.

    [post_title] => Law of the Sea [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => law-of-the-sea [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-03-20 19:19:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-03-20 23:19:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 759 [guid] => https://www.americansecurityproject.org/?page_id=10005 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => page [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 6 [filter] => raw )
  • Law of the Sea
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