China's R&D Priorities and US National Lab Issues

From 2004 Argonne Labs presentation "
In the course of researching yesterday's post, I found this gem of a presentation (download .ppt) given in 2004 by the CIO of Argonne National Laboratory. The above image is slide #23 and aptly demonstrates  the security insanity that is still present in many if not all of the 39 Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) operating today. If you're a present or former employee at one of those labs, you know exactly what I mean. If you don't, just look at the history of security breaches that date back to the 80's. For example, slide #5 provides some stats for Argonne: 23 reported intrusions in 1998;  17 in 1999; 13 in 2000. And that's just for one lab.

Then there's the blistering June 1999 report "Science at its Best; Security at its Worst - A Report On Security Problems At the U.S. Department Of Energy" by the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Panel which excoriated the DOE as incapable of reforming itself; and that "organizational disarray, managerial neglect, and a culture of arrogance—both at DOE headquarters and the labs themselves—conspired to create an espionage scandal waiting to happen." And then, just a few years after that prediction, came Titan Rain. It doesn't seem like a lot has changed in the past decade. It seems to me like the FFRDCs may be little more than retail stores where state-sponsored actors can do their high priority shopping with little fear of being caught.

In yesterday's post, I listed Russia's high priority "shopping list". Here are some of China's NNSFC priority R&D projects for 2010 and 2011 (in no particular order):

  1. Space travel [1]
  2. Nuclear fission [2]
  3. Bioagriculture [3]
  4. Trusted software [4]
  5. Near-space vehicle development [5]
  6. Single quantum state detection and interaction [6]
  7. Unconventional emergency management research [7]
  8. Cognitive computing [8]