Dear Mr. President

Top IT luminaries demand action from the next administration.

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Robert Kahn

CEO of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives; Internet pioneer and former DARPA program manager

National security and economic growth are closely coupled, and our engine of economic growth depends on an educated workforce and advances in technology.

Many of the greatest challenges we face in our cities, and with our globally interconnected world, are increasingly dependent on engineering talent that knows how to apply science and technology to solving real problems. In difficult times, when multiple near-term priorities draw heavily on limited resources, it is all too easy to curtail research investments and associated technology development. This would likely shortchange our future generations. The next president should firmly resist that possibility.

Leonard Kleinrock

Professor of computer science, University of California, Los Angeles; Internet pioneer

When it comes to science and technology, we still enjoy a leadership position. But we are in serious danger of losing that position due to the shortsighted view of some of our key government funding agencies.

What used to be their willingness to support long-term, high-risk, high-payoff, well-funded and visionary research has been replaced with a focus on short-term, low-risk, low-payoff, poorly funded and pragmatic objectives. This is not only damaging our ability to win in today's competitive environment, but it is also channeling the next generation of faculty and senior researchers into small science, incremental thinking and short-term goals.

I urge the next president to return to the generous government funding of long-term advanced and innovative research projects for our universities and research centers.

Rick Rashid

Senior vice president, Microsoft Research; former professor of computer science, Carnegie Mellon University

Increasing use of noncompetitive earmarked funding; short-term, mission-focused investment; and insufficient funding for long-term and risk-taking research threaten America's economic future and position in the world.

My advice to a new administration is to work toward restoring a balanced system of support for long-term basic research in science and technology.

Specifically, I would recommend that it work with Congress to eliminate or limit earmark funding for science, restore the "long-term risk-taking" parts of DARPA to its 1970s/1980s form, and fund the American Competitiveness Initiative.

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