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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."

Driving the news: The National Counterintelligence and Security Center has launched a campaign to warn U.S. companies and researchers about foreign intelligence threats to these sectors, which the Chinese and Russian governments are targeting through international collaborations, talent recruitment and espionage:

  • AI: Officials warn that current trends suggest China has "the might, talent, and ambition" to surpass the U.S. in AI in the next decade, which could significantly exacerbate threats posed by cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns.
  • Quantum: Some foreign countries are spending substantially more on quantum development than the U.S., which puts them in a better position to recruit American talent. Whoever wins the race for quantum dominance could compromise other countries' economic and national security communications, the paper claims.
  • Biotech: Competition in the global bioeconomy has intensified over the past decades, as foreign countries have stolen technology and intellectual property from the U.S. As one example, the paper highlights breakthrough technologies in genomics, which could be exploited for "surveillance and societal repression."
  • Semiconductors: The global nature of the semiconductor supply chain — which is currently experiencing disruptions — creates economic chokepoints that can be exploited by adversaries. The U.S. is extremely dependent on one company in Taiwan for key chip components, for example.
  • Autonomous systems: The expansion of these systems for both military and civilian purposes presents a "growing attack surface for malicious cyber actors," the paper warns.

The big picture: Acting NCSC director Michael Orlando told reporters that he was not advocating for "decoupling" the U.S. and Chinese economies, instead stressing: "If you are going to do business and collaborate, be smart about it."

Go deeper

Nov 29, 2021 - World

Chinese jets enter Taiwan zone as Xi holds talks to strengthen military

Chinese President Xi Jinping at a June event in Beijing. Photo: Liu Weibing/Xinhua via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense ministry reported another 27 Chinese aircraft entered the self-governed island's air defense identification zone on Sunday.

Why it matters: The latest of several Chinese military incursions into the zone this year came as China's President Xi Jinping met with generals to discuss further strengthening the country's armed forces, per Reuters.

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.

Roger Stone won't cooperate with Jan. 6 panel

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone speaking in front of the Supreme Court on Jan. 5 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone won't cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and will invoke the Fifth Amendment right not to testify, his attorney said Tuesday evening.

Why it matters: The announcement, first reported by ABC News, came hours after former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he wouldn't cooperate with the probe.