Technology & Innovation

In the face of unprecedented challenges, technological advances can provide a powerful engine for advancing economic growth and new opportunity. It requires policy leadership that understands the immense transformative power of technology and innovation. Harnessing the full power and potential of new technologies can improve the lives of all Americans. Creating a policy environment that fosters technological innovation can help create new jobs, improve the environment, help solve our energy crisis, reduce health care costs, fuel economic growth, extend opportunities to a new generation of Americans, and help make Americans more safe and secure.

The Obama Administration and the Office of Science and Technology Policy is committed to advancing a comprehensive technology and innovation plan that will:

  • Connect Americans to a Modern Broadband Communications Infrastructure: Connect the country with broadband networks that reach into every neighborhood and household, every school and library, and every hospital and public safety office through a combination of new investments, reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation’s wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives
  • Lower Health Care Costs by Advancing Health IT: Implement a networked system of electronic medical records to lower healthcare costs and improve patient care
  • Modernize Public Safety Communications: Make Americans more safe and secure by moving away from antiquated 1970s and 1980s-based technology to modern interoperable public safety communication networks
  • Upgrade Education To Meet The Needs Of The 21st Century: Harness new technologies to transform the way teachers teach and students learn. Ensure all public school children are equipped with the necessary science, technology, engineering, and math skills to compete and win in the 21st century economy.
  • Develop New Clean Energy Sources: In order to wean the nation off wasteful petroleum products and to create new markets for U.S. energy products abroad, develop new and cleaner energy sources
  • Develop Next Generation Manufacturing Technologies: Create and install new manufacturing methods so America can again create its fair share of the products we use and to revitalize the domestic job market

Technology in the Obama administration also promises to provide an unprecedented window into the workings of government, supporting democratic principles of transparency and, by inviting more public participation, making use one of the nation’s greatest untapped resource: the shared knowledge of its citizenry. The Obama administration and OSTP will develop policies that will:

  • Bring government into the 21st Century: Establish a Chief Technology Officer position within the Executive Office of the President to ensure that every government branch and agency has the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century
  • Create an Open and Transparent Democracy: Develop cutting-edge technologies to create a new level of transparency, participation, and collaboration for America's citizens and enhance scientific integrity in government decision-making.
  • Protect America’s Cyber Networks: Initiation of new and powerful protection strategies to ensure that America’s cyber network remains safe from espionage and disruption while at the same time increasing the Federal Trade Commission’s enforcement budget so it can step up efforts to track down cyber criminals

Investment in these important technologies can not be expected to remain strong if there is not an equally strong intellectual property regimen in place to promote innovation, investment and protect the rights of developers. And citizens cannot be expected to embrace these technologies unless they can be adequately assured that private information will be protected. Toward those ends, the Obama administration and OSTP are committed to advancing policies that will:

  • Safeguard the Privacy of Every American by strengthening digital security systems and holding governments and businesses accountable for violations of personal privacy
  • Promote Innovation and Investment by updating and reforming our copyright and patent systems and ensuring that intellectual property owners are protected at home and abroad

Finally, the United States must maintain and take full advantage of its technical and strategic superiority in space, which can simultaneously enhance our national security and provide crucial information about environmental and climatologic trends. The administration and OSTP will develop policies that will:

  • Close the gap between retirement of the Space Shuttle and launch of the next generation of space vehicles to minimize any interruption in access to low-earth orbit, and take full advantage of the research opportunities provided by the International Space Station.
  • Strengthen NASA’s missions in space science, weather, climate research, and aeronautical research.
  • Help establish a robust and balanced civilian space program, and engage international partners and the private sector to amplify NASA’s reach.
  • Ensure Freedom of Space by assessing possible threats to U.S. space assets and identifying the best options, military and diplomatic, for countering them; accelerating programs to harden U.S. satellites against attack; and establishing contingency plans to ensure that U.S. forces can maintain or duplicate access to information from space assets if necessary.