The Government Accountability Office identified eight trends that are having strong effects on both the federal government and society as a whole, and those included in the science and tech section of the report are suggested to be critical to the country’s competitiveness.
The trends are part of the larger 2018-2023 strategic plan for the office, whose mission is to ensure that Congress is aware and informed, and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government.
The report notes that uncertainty in how technologies will develop creates challenges to predicting, preparing for, and ultimately harnessing their impacts.
While S&T advances will remain central to issues like economic competitiveness, better medical care and disease prevention, and information security, the GAO contends in the report that the ability of the U.S. to lead these advances is increasingly challenged, in part due to the growing constraint on the federal budget, a major source of R&D support.
It goes on to say that the extent to which the United States is able to focus R&D investment in key technology areas will be a key factor in U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.