President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a presidential memorandum that seeks to secure U.S. government-supported research and development (R&D) against interference and exploitation by foreign powers.
Trump’s action seeks to enhance protections for United States R&D efforts, given their open and collaborative nature, and in light of their importance to national security and in keeping the country economically competitive, the White House Press Secretary said in a statement.
The memorandum “ensures that Government-supported research can occur in an open environment and foster new discoveries for the benefit of our Nation while also protecting intellectual capital, discouraging research misappropriation, and ensuring the responsible management of United States taxpayer dollars.”
The presidential memo reinforces the Trump administration’s efforts to maintain American leadership in the field of science and technology.
“America must remain the world’s leader in S&T [science and technology] during this era of great power competition, and today’s signing builds on the long and successful history of actions taken by President Trump to protect American technology from adversaries,” the press secretary said.
“This whole-of-government approach to R&D security will protect America’s technology and innovation advantage. Whether in trade, military cooperation, or S&T research, President Trump refuses to let other countries take advantage of America,” the statement added.
Trump in 2017 made research and development an important aspect of his administration’s new National Security Strategy, which addressed key challenges that affect America’s standing in the world, including the use of “technology, propaganda, and coercion to shape a world antithetical to our interests and values” by such powers as China and Russia.
“To succeed in this 21st century geopolitical competition, America must lead in research, technology, and innovation,” the White House said in a statement in December 2017. “We will protect our national security innovation base from those who steal our intellectual property and unfairly exploit the innovation of free societies.”
Trump signed the new memorandum strengthening R&D protections on the same day that a senior NASA scientist pleaded guilty to lying about his ties to a Chinese-backed program designed to harvest talent from the West and transfer intellectual property to China, according to the Justice Department.