Published in Arms Control Today
In the past few years, U.S. policymakers have struggled to craft policies that embrace the benefits of advanced computing technologies and enable competitive innovation while mitigating risks from their widespread applications. Even as a U.S.-Chinese technology competition looms, policymakers must recognize the arms-racing risks to strategic stability and pursue policies, even if unilateral, to resolve the ambiguity around computing technologies that are deployed in strategic settings.
Although computing technologies have been a security focus since World War II, a strategic shift toward technology competition with China and a rapidly accelerating pace of innovation are challenging prior U.S. governance strategies. A narrower version of this problem was faced in the 1970s, when U.S. policymakers and their UK counterparts agreed on restricting the flow of high-end computers to Eastern Bloc countries over national security concerns but disagreed on whether to control low-end computer trade.