Why America Needs a National Competitiveness Council



Robert D. Atkinson | Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

The issue of faltering U.S. international economic competitiveness, especially in advanced industries and vis-à-vis China, is finally gaining attention in Washington, D.C. The Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act (USICA); and after passing a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act, House leadership has indicated a willingness to also move on USICA. Hopefully, going into 2022, the federal government will have more competitiveness tools at its disposal than it does now. But a one-time infusion of resources is not enough: The federal government needs to formulate and implement a coherent U.S. advanced industry competitiveness strategy.

Mustering the political will and ensuring administrative capabilities to generate and implement a robust and broad-based national advanced technology competitiveness strategy are not easy. One way to facilitate both is for the federal government to create a national competitiveness council composed of leaders and experts to provide not only advice to the government but advocacy for a discrete set of high-priority policies. But unless crafted and operated carefully, the risk is that such a body would simply repeat what so many other commissions and groups have done in the past: operating in the realm of generalities, failing to identify the most critical policy interventions and not using their influence to get those interventions fully funded and over the “finish line.” This report first briefly discusses the state of U.S. “competitiveness” and what the term means, and then how such a council could be formed and subsequently operate to be successful.


To read the full report by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, please click here.