In the 1950s, Nelson Rockefeller created the Special Studies Project – a bipartisan effort to define the major problems and opportunities that the United States confronted as it shifted from the aftermath of World War II and faced an ideological competitor striving for nuclear parity. I was asked to serve as the Executive Director. We brought together some of the leading thinkers of our country and produced a series of papers that became the book Prospect for America, which we hoped would explain the issues facing our country that may have been hard for the government to tell the American people. We wanted to help Americans understand these challenges, build consensus around ways to navigate them, and ensure our democratic way of life prospered.
Two developments that are shaping the international security environment today mirror the situation in which the Special Studies Project conducted its work. First, there is an intensifying competition for strategic advantage between the United States and China, and, second, advances in artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies promise to bring tremendous impacts on both economic and military competitiveness, as well as our society. There is also a sense among democratic countries that we are losing confidence in our system of government. Our country needs a discussion of the changes that are taking place, the challenges to come, and to define the direction and purpose for our country in this new strategic environment.
This is why I congratulate Eric for launching this new effort and why I am happy that so many great minds are participating. For this project, you need broad participation from the public and private sectors, as well as dialogues with our Allies, about the future of the international security environment shaped by these technologies. There may be huge differences in opinions on how to handle the issues before us, but our government and society must find a unifying purpose and face these challenges with the same imagination, decisive action, and national will we have summoned at other critical junctures in our history.
Thank you all for doing this, and Eric and Ylli for leading it. This effort can be extremely important in helping to point our country towards the creative path required and help rebuild confidence in our democratic leadership in the world.