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Ylli Bajraktari: Federal Government Needs to Increase Basic R&D Spending

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Ylli Bajraktari, CEO of the Special Competitive Studies Project, said the federal government should increase its spending on basic research and development efforts to help maintain its competitive edge in artificial intelligence and other emerging technology areas, Federal News Network reported Tuesday.

“If we don’t outmaneuver and not out-innovate China, we will not be in the lead position when it comes to these emerging technologies,” said Bajraktari, former executive director of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

“The lead position in emerging technologies ensures that our economy keeps progressing, that our society is using all the benefits from these technologies, and ultimately, our military has the latest and greatest capabilities if they need to utilize it for warfighting purposes,” he added.

Bajraktari noted that maintaining a high R&D spending level will play a key role in building up the STEM workforce in order for the U.S. to remain competitive.

“If these are our comparative advantages, then I think basic R&D can help towards incentivizing students and Ph.D. candidates at universities to come up with next-generation AI capabilities,” he said.

The White House’s budget request for fiscal year 2023 seeks to increase R&D budget to over $204 billion, reflecting a 28 percent rise from the enacted FY 2021 level. Part of the proposed R&D budget would go to existing and new national AI research institutes.