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Science, Technology, and Global Security

The Academy undertakes studies to explore how the international community can devise new cooperative structures to improve global security and employ science and technology to enhance the human condition. The Academy's longstanding Committee on International Security Studies addresses how globalization is impacting social, economic, environmental, and technological transformations and prospects for peace.

Other Science, Technology, and Global Security projects draw on the Academy's unique mix of scientists, humanists, social scientists, lawyers, and others to analyze the international impact of rapid developments in science and technology; suggest approaches to governing those transformations; and formulate a broader understanding of the social implications of these advances. These activities are grouped under the Initiative for Science, Engineering, and Technology. Launched in 2006, this major Academy initiative explores how science and technology are changing, how to help the public understand those changes, and how society can better adapt to those changes.

Current Program Activities:

  • The Alternative Energy Future: Legal, Social, and Economic Considerations: Population growth, the growth of the global economy, and the threat of global climate change call for a renewed focus on energy sources that have a reduced carbon footprint. The American Academy is undertaking a comprehensive consideration of the legal, social, and economic issues surrounding the alternative energy future.
  • The Global Nuclear Future: This project seeks to generate an integrated set of policy recommendations for balancing the growing global demand for civilian nuclear power with the need to promote nuclear security and strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
  • International Agreements on Internet Protection: This study will examine the technical and political feasibility of international agreements to limit cyberattacks.
  • Protecting the Internet as a Public Commons: Free and unrestricted public use of the Internet involves the fundamental building blocks of Internet communication – trust, identity, power, and control. This project considers the social, political, economic, legal, and technical factors that affect the evolving design of the Internet.
  • The Role of Academia, Industry, and Government in the 21st Century (ARISE II): The cyclical nature of federal funding, the specialized goals of industry, and global competition pose risks to the vitality of science and technology research at American universities. The Academy is investigating the sustainability and systemic effects of current funding and conflict of interest policies of science, engineering, and medicine on universities.

Past Projects and Publications

  • Alternative Models for the Federal Funding of Science: With the United States’ preeminence in science, engineering, and technology being challenged in the new global economy, the Academy assembled a panel of experts to examine current science funding policies, mechanisms, and processes, and to recommend strategies for maximizing the impact of federal dollars. U.S. Policy Toward Russia : This project sought to develop a new post-cold war U.S. policy toward Russia that is comprehensive, coherent, and well-integrated within overall U.S. foreign policy.
  • Countering Corruption in Nation-States: What is corruption? How does it work? Why does it matter? This project examined these questions and investigated the link between corruption and political and economic transformation, as well as the effects of corruption in the larger international setting.
  • Reconsidering the Rules of Space: This study examined the global security implications of expanding commercial and military uses of space, and considered international rules and principles needed to maintain a balanced use of space over the long term. International Security in the Post-Soviet Space : This series of studies explored issues affecting international security in the former Soviet states.
  • Science in the Liberal Arts Curriculum: Less than one-third of American undergraduates major in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering. This project examines the goals of science requirements for nonscientists, and how students fulfill those requirements, in an effort to inform curriculum policies at higher education institutions.
  • U.S. Policy Toward Russia: This project sought to develop a new post-cold war U.S. policy toward Russia that is comprehensive, coherent, and well-integrated within overall U.S. foreign policy.
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