Global Competition Project (GCP)
About The Global Competition Project (GCP)
The Project was launched to explore what the United States must do to continue to thrive as a global leader, economically and otherwise, driving toward a societal-level understanding and approach to competition at the intersection of policy, industry, and science and technology.
To do so, the Project is commissioning a spectrum of experts from diverse fields across the Potomac Institute’s network and beyond. Their purpose is to highlight and elevate issues surrounding both the challenges and opportunities associated with societal-level competition today and in the future. What are the greatest vulnerabilities to consider? What is at stake for the United States? How do we best leverage our strengths?
Ultimately, the Project’s goal is to develop foundational reference products (through research, discussion, events, and papers, etc.) for national security professionals, policymakers, industry leaders, and others to use in addressing the most consequential aspects of near-peer competition.
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.