Global Competition Project (GCP)

Global Competition Project (GCP)



About The Global Competition Project (GCP)

The Global Competition Project (GCP) will commission a spectrum of experts from diverse fields to present insights as to the primary challenges/opportunities associated with societal level competition in the Information Age. We will start by conducting a by-invitation non-attribution seminar discussion with a headliner, then ask the experts to individually present their ideas to the forum.

By virtue of presenting at the seminar forum, experts will then provide written reflections (2-5 pages each) on how the United States should compete as a society in the Information Age. The papers will be complied (monograph, long article, or series) designed to be drawn upon as a foundational reference for national security professionals, policymakers, industry, and others to drive awareness and understanding in how to address the most consequential aspects of competition.

The following questions will be contemplated: What are the most important elements, challenges and opportunities, of a societal-level approach to competition and why? What are the greatest vulnerabilities to consider? What is at stake?

A New Genre of Competition: Society-level engagement in the Information Age

For the United States to continue to thrive as a global leader, economically and otherwise, a societal-level understanding and approach to competition must be invigorated. The issue is a multifaceted, multigenerational challenge just in its infancy of being recognized and addressed and will therefore require priority in the public square and private sector if we are to be successful in years to come.

The current era—the Information Age—is dominated by unprecedented global interconnectedness and economic interdependence, at an all-time high across human history. A single person can wield a megaphone to millions (or billions) via a single social media post. A small ripple in one nation’s markets can result in a tsunami in others and vice versa. Thoughtful and deliberative strategies employed by competitors can therefore be exceedingly effective at swaying minds and money with unprecedented reach, precision, and impact. Unfortunately, examples of such efforts have also devolved into political and economic manipulation and coercion, to include China and Russia as culprits.

While the United States has competed effectively at a societal level before, the stakes and players were different. We did not depend on the Soviet Union economically or otherwise during the Cold War, nor did we depend on Germany or Japan in a similar manner during World War II. Today however, we are economic codependents with China. And China, is deliberately competing with the United States at the societal level, in it for the long-haul, leveraging an enduring patience built over several millennia. While the United States does not “enjoy” the “benefit” and ruthless efficiency of an autocracy in aligning all aspects of society toward strategic goals, American-style democracy and free enterprise have proven themselves repeatedly to be the essential spark for unbridled ingenuity—the key to unrivaled flourishing among the world’s nations.

Our short history has demonstrated that—ingenuity—inventiveness, imagination, and the free flow of ideas, especially when translated to the advance of impactful science and technology (S&T) on the economy, national security, and overall quality of life, is core to our unprecedented success as a country. This time is no different, especially when S&T is complimented by sound policy and an engaged private sector. The intersection of all three, illuminated via the compilation of insight gathered from a diverse field of experts, will provide a vital tool to understanding and developing a coherent society-level approach to competition in the Information Age.




News of the Peoples Republic of China’s (PRC) first successful test of a hypersonic missile perforated the headlines in August. The test sent a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile into low-earth orbit around the globe to its target, demonstrating potential to circumvent U.S. missile defense systems and possibly strike North American targets. Media commentary suggested it was a “Sputnik moment” for the PRC, a reference to 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first successful satellite to orbit the earth, signaling that the U.S.’s geopolitical rival achieved a level of technological prowess that effectively challenged its position as a global superpower. Whether the comparison is hyperbole or fact is arguable. However, it is a clear indication matched with other geopolitical and economic signs that the U.S. has a contemporary competitor in the PRC, challenging its position on the world stage, and not just from a security standpoint. As the U.S. gains an appreciation for the emerging competitive environment, the first of many serious questions must be asked: What does it actually mean to compete? What defines competition in this context?


Never in human history has an individual had the ability to communicate with so many others so easily. With technologies like the Internet, personal computers, and smartphones, a powerful reality has emerged: A simple message or piece of information, regardless of its origin or truth, can lend to unraveling the stability and success of a nation. A single posting to social media, can sway millions, if not billions. Indeed, the world is at an inflection point with regard access to and proliferation and manipulation of information at scale.

America’s global competitors have recognized and embraced the opportunities that come with that inflection. They have implemented strategic messaging campaigns to project narratives to help them pursue foreign policy and other national objectives, which include manipulating information to incite political and economic destabilization on the international stage. Examples range from Russia’s use of social media to manipulate the U.S. elections in 2016 and 2020, to the extensive Chinese censorship and disinformation campaigns used to cover up the imprisonment of ethnic minorities in concentration camps, to explaining the disappearance of political dissidents by the state. Each instance represents the shaping of information to influence thoughts and actions via widely available technology platforms; deliberate efforts to drive policy agendas. Strategic communication is a clearly elevated means to gain leverage in today’s globally competitive environment. However, the consequences, to include technological, biological, and psychological aspects of such campaigns and en masse information manipulation, have only just begun to be recognized by the United States.