Fighting Budget Deficits by Leveraging the Private Sector

Fighting Budget Deficits by Leveraging the Private Sector

The U.S. government’s efforts to reduce America’s budget deficit has put funding for nuclear nonproliferation programs, development aid and even defense spending on the chopping block. With advocacy groups and lobbyists in Washington now fighting tooth and nail to minimize the damage to their core interests, little attention has been given to an innovative way to achieve national and international security and development objectives amid financial austerity: leveraging the private sector.

Advanced technology is fast becoming the 21st century antidote to a variety of global security challenges, and if properly applied, the same technologies can also represent a cost-effective strategy to address global development challenges as well. This trajectory opens up new market opportunities for the security, defense and communications industries to do well by doing good.

Today, for instance, the same technology required to combat modern terrorism can be used to promote economic development in poorer countries. Strengthening border and port security with the help of cell phones, cameras, and detection and surveillance equipment, as well as instant communication platforms, is crucial to limiting the ability of al-Qaida and al-Shabaab to plan and execute terrorist attacks. These same technologies are also critical to facilitating trade expansion, business development and national competitiveness in the world's poorest countries. And the potential revenue for tech companies can be used to incentivize private sector participation in such efforts.

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