Economic Security: Neglected Dimension of National Security?

January 31, 2013

Guest blogger GPO Public Relations Specialist Emma Wojtowicz reviews this new publication asking whether our economic security is a neglected dimension of U.S. national security policy, a timely topic considering the recent national economic recession and yesterday’s news of the GDP drop.

The public generally agrees that the United States’ economic security is a vital component to the country’s overall national security. This is especially true in light of yesterday’s announcement that the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP)—the  measure of all goods and services produced by the economy—shrank an unexpected 0.1% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, the first quarterly contraction since the second quarter of 2009 during the recession.

But what exactly does economic security mean in this context? This topic is explored in Economic Security: Neglected Dimension of National Security?, a publication by the Institute for National Strategic Studies of the National Defense University.

Economic Security: Neglected Dimension of National Security? ISBN 9780160898082The book’s editor, Sheila R. Ronis, argues that the economy has often been ignored and misunderstood in relation to national security and that economic strength is the foundation of national security. To make this argument, papers from a conference in 2010 that had the same title as the book comprise the publication and focus on the different factors that contribute to economic security.

Foundation: The first chapter explains how the economy works and provides the reader with a foundation for understanding economic components like budgets, debt, deficits, lenders, interest rates, GDP and so on. This is the best chapter of the book because it gives the reader perspective when considering the country’s economic security.

History:  Taking up 50 pages of this 110 page publication, the second chapter focuses on how the U.S. emerged after World War II as an economic and military superpower and how the boom in industrialization and commerce in the previous decades lead to America’s position after World War II. This approach to understanding the United States’ current economy is fascinating but the use of minute historical details to make the point is perhaps too in-depth for the casual reader, but will be of great interest to scholars, specialists and journalists.

Energy: The third and fourth chapters tackle the topic of energy security and how that relates to the country’s economic and national security. If you are not an energy aficionado, then the content may be over your head, but there are some fundamental facts that anyone can absorb. The U.S. spends $500 billion annually on energy and is the world’s largest energy consumer second to China. The United States’ energy consumption grows every year along with its energy imports.  These chapters strategize how to reform energy policy, thus strengthening the country’s economic and national security.

 Energy Security intersection of National Security, Economic Security and Environmental Security

Image: Energy security is a common topic in relation to economic and national security. Another professor, Massoud Amin at the University of Minnesota, describes energy security as the overlap between economic security, national security, and environmental security.  Source:  DialogueEarth.org

Education: Chapter five explores education in the U.S. and the skill set needed for the workforce of today and the future.  Science and technology are necessary skills for the country’s current workforce in order for the U.S. to play a role in the global economy. Those skills are also important for engaging the next generation of students who were born into an already technologically advanced society, well-versed in using computers, the Internet and mobile devices. This chapter takes a comprehensive approach to the topic of education and the long-term effect it will have on the country’s economic security.

Innovation: The author of the sixth and final chapter takes on the subject of innovation and its contribution to United States’ economic prosperity more so than its economic security. Building upon the previous chapter of education, innovation is the next step to strengthening the economy by creating jobs through new industries and products. The best take-away from this chapter is that while innovation is important and vital to the economy, it alone cannot ensure economic security.

President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation Image: This image represents the President’s “Strategy for American Innovation” which, according to the White House, “seeks to harness the ingenuity of the American people to ensure economic growth that is rapid, broad-based, and sustained. This economic growth will bring greater income, higher quality jobs, and improved quality of life to all Americans.” Source: White House.

Economic Security: Neglected Dimension of National Security? does a good job of breaking down the issue of economic security making the reader more thoughtful and aware of this important, relevant topic.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS BOOK: “Economic Security: Neglected Dimension of National Security?

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a library.

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Steve Jobs and our Innovation Nation

October 11, 2011

Last week we lost one of America’s great geniuses of innovation, Apple’s founder and CEO, Steve Jobs.

I can remember each time I first used one of Apple’s products. While working for IBM as a systems engineer right out of college and working with both mainframe systems and some not-always-so-friendly early PC operating systems (remember DOS?), I got to use a friend’s Macintosh and was blown away by how easy it was to use. Fast forward through the introduction of the iPod; iTunes online music and apps store; the iPhone—the first touchscreen smartphone; and now the iPad, first touchscreen tablet; and we now have a world that couldn’t conceive of life without Steve Jobs’ innovations.

One of Jobs’ secret to success was treating Apple as an idea and business incubator to continually research and fund what could possibly be the “next great thing” in the future, but was still only a germ of an idea from some engineer or scientist.

The Federal Government as an Incubator of Innovation

Like Apple, one of the key roles of the US Federal Government is to serve as an incubator of innovation.

Here at GPO, for example, we are embracing innovation by producing eBooks, digital downloads, information portals and databases in response to the changing needs of our increasingly digital society, which have been driven in part by Apple inventions introduced by Steve Jobs.

Most of the work products from the Federal Government can be and are used freely by private industry or other areas of Government to spur their own innovations. From statistics to research, processes to products, the Government has provided the seeds to innovation for American industry throughout the years.

Looking through our recent catalog on the US Government Bookstore website, I came across these publications which provide examples of innovation both within the Federal Government and in partnership with the private sector:

 
  • Spinoff Innovative Partnerships Program 2009, provides an in-depth look at how NASA’s initiatives in aeronautics and space exploration have resulted in beneficial commercial technologies in the fields of health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental protection, computer technology and industrial productivity.  Some innovation spinoffs over the years include:
    • lightweight breathing system adapted for firefighters;
    • Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric for astronaut spacesuits is now used as a permanent roofing material for buildings and stadiums;
    • remote-controlled robotic arms are now being used for robotic surgical operations; and
    • artificial heart pump based on the design of NASA’s space shuttle main engine fuel pumps.
    • You can get a print copy of this book now at the US Government Bookstore or find it in a library.
 
 

About the Author:  I am Michele Bartram, Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division.  My duties include marketing for the US Government Online Bookstore (Bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public. Due to the retirement of Jim Cameron, my duties now also include taking the helm as Blogger for Government Book Talk. I have been in the Internet marketing and ecommerce field for over 15 years.

We at GPO wish Jim all the best in his retirement, and will continue to do our best to spotlight the amazing variety of Government publications and their impact on ourselves and our world – and have fun while doing it.

 



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