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Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. policymakers have faced the challenge of addressing the technological requirements of both economic competitiveness and national security. Promoting the technological objectives of competitiveness and security poses a daunting task, as these objectives can differ significantly in terms of autonomy, the private sector's role, and the time frame involved. The difficulties inherent in meeting these competing needs for technological investment and resources are exacerbated by growing technological globalization.

American Technology Policy analyzes the ongoing efforts of politicians, legislators, policymakers, and industry leaders to balance their often-conflicting technological requirements. J. D. Kenneth Boutin examines recent trends and developments in American technology policy as it strives to support high-technology firms without undermining national security. He then considers issues of autonomy, relations between the federal government and industry, and the time frame involved in formulating and implementing policy initiatives, all in the context of globalization.

Though satisfying the ambitious American technological agenda is difficult, it is impossible for authorities to avoid making the effort, given the high stakes involved. Boutin's analysis is intended to inform those who are charged with prioritizing and balancing the technological needs of national defense and economic growth. Although the post–Cold War technology policy of the United States has been characterized by efforts to achieve a balance between these two competing priorities, the dominant focus remains on national security. Boutin explains the ways in which American authorities seek to limit the extent of compromise necessary by working with local and foreign actors and by encouraging structural changes in the environment for technological development, application, and diffusion.

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