Dr. Eric Schmidt announces Special Competitive Studies Project (Oct 5, 2021)

ARLINGTON, VA — Today, Dr. Eric Schmidt announced the launch of the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), a new initiative that will make recommendations to strengthen America’s long-term global competitiveness for a future where artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies reshape our national security, economy, and society.

Headed by Schmidt, the SCSP will have a bipartisan board of national security leaders. Schmidt will be joined by Robert Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense and National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) Co-Chair; Nadia Schadlow, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy; Michèle Flournoy, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; and William McClellan “Mac” Thornberry, former Congressman and Chair of the House Armed Services Committee to lead the effort. Ylli Bajraktari will serve as the Chief Executive Officer.

“I am humbled by this incredible opportunity to lead the Project,” said Bajraktari. “I believe this nonpartisan group will chart a critical path forward for our country to maintain global leadership on key technologies that will shape our future.”

The SCSP is inspired by the Rockefeller Special Studies Project (SSP), launched in 1956 by Nelson Rockefeller and led by Henry Kissinger. In the midst of the Cold War as the U.S. was facing roiling domestic and international conditions, Rockefeller and Kissinger brought together some of the nation’s leading thinkers to study the major problems and opportunities confronting the country to chart a path to revitalize American society, restore a strong bipartisan national security strategy, and renew American leadership.

“We are at a similar historical moment today,” said Kissinger. “We need deep analysis and urgent action or our destiny will be shaped for us. I am very pleased that Eric has decided to lead this effort to help our country understand where technology trends are taking us and define the actions our leaders must take to protect a peaceful and democratic future.”

“Federal government support launched my career,” said Schmidt. “My graduate work in computer science in the 1970s and ’80s was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Five years ago, I was fortunate to be able to start giving back when then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter asked me to serve on the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Board, and then three years ago, Congress asked me to chair the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. Both of these roles convinced me that the U.S. needs to think, organize and compete in significantly new ways. No serious nation can ignore the impacts of emerging technologies on all aspects of our national life. Our government cannot be a passive actor, but it needs help. For this reason, I am starting the SCSP to study these critical issues alongside my friends and colleagues—Bob, Michèle, Nadia, Mac—whom I respect enormously. And I cannot think of anyone better to lead this effort on our behalf than Ylli Bajraktari, and he is building a world-class team to address all these challenges.” For more information about SCSP, please contact Senior Director for Communications and Public Affairs Tara Rigler at tmr@scsp.ai.


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