WASHINGTON – A group of former national security officials is urging lawmakers to exempt immigrants with advanced science, technology, engineering and math from green card restrictions to help the United States compete with China.

“In today’s technological competition, America’s most powerful and enduring asymmetric advantage is its ability to attract and retain the world’s best and brightest,” officials said. letter as of Monday, first reported by Axios. “Narrow bottlenecks in the US immigration system risk wasting this advantage.”

The letter to conference participants working to finalize China’s competition bill was signed by former heads of defense, energy and home security departments, as well as former employees of the Advanced Defense Research Projects Agency, the National Security Agency and the CIA. . The signatories include former defense ministers Bill Cohen and Chuck Hagel, as well as David Norquist, chief executive of the National Defense Industry Association, and Mc Thornbury, former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

The signatories demanded that a provision passed by the Chamber, or some version of it, contain an exemption from green card ceilings.

Many NDIA member firms reported in 2021 that the lack of talent in America is the only most vulnerable part of their supply chain, although the NDIA has also seen growth in the amount of technical talent in the industry since 2018.

Meanwhile, China is “competing” to expand its local talent pipelines and is set to double the number of STEM doctors in the United States over the next three years, the letter said.

“China is the most significant technological and geopolitical competitor our country has faced recently,” the letter said. “With the best STEM talent in the world, it will be very difficult for America to lose. Without him, it will be very difficult for America to win. “

Half of the holders of advanced STEM degrees working in the defense industry base were born abroad, according to a March report by The Institute for Progress.

Joe Gould is a senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, defense policy and the defense industry.


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