America Inc.?: Innovation and Enterprise in the National by Linda Weiss

By Linda Weiss

For greater than part a century, the us has led the area in constructing significant applied sciences that force the fashionable economic system and underpin its prosperity. In America, Inc., Linda Weiss attributes the U.S. capability for transformative innovation to the power of its nationwide protection nation, a fancy of organizations, courses, and hybrid preparations that has built round the establishment of everlasting protection preparedness and the pursuit of technological supremacy. She examines how that complicated emerged and the way it has developed in line with altering geopolitical threats and household political constraints, from the chilly warfare interval to the post-9/11 era.

Weiss specializes in state-funded enterprise capital cash, new types of know-how procurement through security and security-related corporations, and innovation in robotics, nanotechnology, and renewable power because the Nineteen Eighties. Weiss argues that the nationwide safeguard country has been the crucible for leap forward ideas, a catalyst for entrepreneurship and the formation of recent organizations, and a collaborative community coordinator for private-sector tasks. Her booklet appraises chronic myths concerning the military-commercial dating on the center of the nationwide defense nation. Weiss additionally discusses the consequences for realizing U.S. capitalism, the yankee country, and the way forward for American primacy as financialized enterprises curtail funding in production and innovation.

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Since my aims differ from those of the historian, my account does not give priority to questions of periodization. While not ignoring the time factor, I frame my discussion of the rise and evolution of the NSS in terms of five broad phases. These correspond roughly rather than neatly to the designated periods: emergence (1945–57), growth (1958–68), crisis (1969– 79), reform and reorientation in two phases (1980–89 and 1990–99), and re-visioning (2000–2012). In each phase, I seek to highlight those aspects of the international security environment, the domestic political context, and the technology leadership challenges that have influenced the formation and evolution of the NSS innovation enterprise.

In the meantime, however, the extramural programs of the NSF and the NIH expanded to fill the vacuum created by the departure of the DoD from nonmilitary funding. Thus in 1971, NSF assumed responsibility for Defense’s materials research laboratories in order to pursue industrial applications. The university-based program had been set up in response to post-Sputnik concerns, but faced extinction when Congress banned the use of Pentagon-sourced money from funding non–mission-related research. At one stroke, responsibility for the DARPA program was transferred to NSF.

It is however broader in scope, since (unlike the NSS literature I draw on in this chapter, which typically stops somewhere in the early 1950s, or at the latest the 1960s), the chapter traces key stages in the evolution of the NSS over the postwar period as a whole—again, always with a specific focus on those aspects of its evolution most relevant to technological leadership. Since my aims differ from those of the historian, my account does not give priority to questions of periodization. While not ignoring the time factor, I frame my discussion of the rise and evolution of the NSS in terms of five broad phases.

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