White House points to Sputnik to save tech
Soviet satellite becomes Obama's new rallying cry to keep Congress from cutting education and science funding
Computerworld - WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is calling for more investment in science and technology, saying the "Sputnik moment is back" for the U.S., referring to the 1957 launch of the Soviet satellite that's now synonymous with any foreign challenge to America's technical dominance.
Parts of Obama's speech today were very similar to an address last week by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who also referred to Sputnik. It was as if the two shared notes.
The underlying message of Obama's talk Monday was to keep Congress from slashing education and science funding.
Cutting science and technology investments is "like trying to reduce the weight of an overloaded aircraft by removing its engine," said Obama.
Obama also cited a need to protect education, and pointed to a series of statistics that illustrate problems, such as the U.S.'s fall from first to ninth place globally in the proportion of young people with college degrees.
"In the race for the future, America is in danger of falling behind. That's just the truth," said Obama, speaking at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, N.C.
As Chu did, the president cited a few recent technology developments, some of which involved China.
Among other things, without naming the company, Obama cited the construction of the world's "largest private solar research and development facility" in China. He was likely referring to a 400,000-square-foot facility built by Applied Materials.
"When global firms were asked a few years back where they planned on building new research and development facilities, nearly 80% said either China or India -- because those countries are focused on math and science, and they're focused on training and educating their workforce," Obama said.
Last week, Chu drew attention to the U.S. decline in high-tech manufacturing. In 1998, he said, the U.S. had about 25% of the world's technology export market; today it is about 12% to 13%.
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obama and tech
- China set to surpass U.S. in R&D spending in 10 years
- Outgoing federal CIO warns of 'an IT cartel'
- @whitehouse takes on Twitter Town Hall
- Obama's CIO quits
- Little new in Obama cybersecurity proposal
- Feds update IT plan following Obama's 'horrible' comment
- Obama's online trusted ID plan greeted with caution
- U.S. Census tech makeover includes 'oasis' for innovation
- Obama seeks big boost in cybersecurity spending
- QuickPoll: Is Obama's 98% 4G broadband coverage goal realistic?
Read more about Government IT in Computerworld's Government IT Topic Center.
- Google I/O 2013's Coolest Products and Services
- 10 Star Trek Technologies That are Almost Here
- 19 Generations of Computer Programmers
- 25 Must-Have Technologies for SMBs
- A walking tour: 33 questions to ask about your company's security
- 15 social media scams
- The 7 elements of a successful security awareness program
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Federal IT Innovation Caught in a Catch-22
- Fed resources shoring up old infrastructure, holding back new technologies.
- Inquiry Spotlight: Consumer-Facing Identity
- The challenges of consumer-facing identity management, access management, and authentication differ in ways subtle and dramatic from those of the employee-facing variety.
- IDC Security Infographic
- From the Era Before security to this current era of empowerment this infographic from Blue coat provides a timeline navigates the rise of...
- Key Drivers: Why CIOs Believe Empowered Users Set the Agenda for Enterprise Security
- Several years ago, a transformation in IT began to take place; a transformation from an IT-centric view of technology to a business-centric view...
- Security Empowers Business
- Every magazine article, presentation or blog about the topic seems to start the same way: trying to scare the living daylights out of... All Government IT White Papers
- Becoming An Analytics Driven Organization
- Join us on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT and learn how your agency can create an analytics culture that will enable...
- 3 Reasons Why Sepaton is the World's Fastest Backup Solution
- Leading analyst, Storage Switzerland learns how Sepaton backs up and deduplicates massive data volumes while maintaining the industry's fastest performance - all in...
- Enterprise File Sharing: All You Need to Know
- Security. Scalability. Control. These are just some of the many benefits of enterprise cloud file-sharing that you'll discover in this KnowledgeVault, packed with...
- Bridging HTTP and FTP with FileXpress Internet Server
- What if you could take an FTP server on your internal network, and allow external users (partners or customers) to securely access it...
- MFT and FileXpress - An Overview
- Business users and applications exchange files on a regular basis. File transfer is a core part of the flow of business activity. All Government IT Webcasts