Who We Are
CSET staff come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, bringing extensive experience from the highest levels of government, industry and academia to inform research at the intersection of technology and statecraft. We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and intellectual curiosity.
As a non-partisan organization, we produce rigorous, evidence-based, cross-functional analysis on emerging technology issues. We seek to expose our assumptions, follow the data and serve as trusted advisors to national security policymakers. Our data scientists collaborate closely with analysts to gather, process and interpret data at scale, including foreign-language and technical materials from diverse sources.
Members of our team are challenged with meaningful work, offered ongoing opportunities for professional development and learning, and contribute to a collegial and engaging environment where they can thrive.
What We Do
Our work covers several, sometimes intersecting, lines of research:
How can the U.S. government and its allies make effective use of artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) and other emerging technologies? Our research in this area examines AI-enabled emerging technologies relevant to national security, opportunities and challenges for adoption and application, and opportunities for alliances in the development and deployment of AI-enabled systems.
AI/ML systems are failure-prone, unreliable, and opaque. This research line identifies areas where U.S. policy could promote the development of testing processes, international standards, and other tools to enable safe and reliable deployment of AI/ML capabilities. It encompasses exploration of AI/ML accidents, harms, and vulnerabilities; AI safety, standards, testing, and evaluation; AI adoption, regulation, and policy; and and attempts to understand when systems work well, when they fail, and how such failures could be mitigated.
CSET’s CyberAI Project focuses on the intersection of AI/ML and cybersecurity, including analysis of AI/ML’s potential uses in cyber operations, the potential failure modes of AI/ML applications for cyber, how AI/ML may amplify future disinformation campaigns, and geostrategic competition centered around cyber and AI/ML.
What role do the state of technological innovation and competitiveness in the United States have in national power? We offer recommendations for research and development policy, science and technology strategy, and research security. We also weigh in on the use of investments and incentives to strengthen the innovation ecosystem; export controls, sanctions and related policies to protect intellectual property and sensitive technologies; and trade rules and antitrust approaches to promote a fair and vibrant competitive environment.
This research explores the global AI workforce and policies that affect it, including immigration, education pipelines and talent recruitment and retention—with particular emphasis on the national security workforce. We explore the supply and demand of the AI workforce in the United States and China, the state of AI education in the United States and China, technical talent migration trends within the United States, strengthening DOD’s AI workforce and access to talent, and preparing all U.S. workers to compete and succeed in an AI-enabled world.. We also look at the role of non-traditional educational pathways in growing the AI workforce and the status and immigration dynamics of top AI-research talent.
This research documents the supply chains for national security relevant technologies such as cutting-edge semiconductors to understand how the United States can maintain secure access to these technologies, and identify policy options for this country and its allies to preserve a generational lead over peer competitors. It assesses the implications of, and recommends policy actions related to, de-coupling and re-shoring of such supply chains.
This line of our research works to understand technological ecosystems in key regions of the world through assessment of the state of academic and commercial research, the nature of research collaborations, patterns in patenting, investment flows, trade patterns, and flows of expert talent in these regions. We seek to identify potential win-win opportunities for U.S. engagement with nations in these regions. Key regions of interest include Asia-Pacific and Europe.
We analyze trends to help government and society harness biotechnology’s potential to promote health and new industries, as well as understand the potential for its misuse. It includes examination of the biotechnology workforce, infrastructure and funding that supports biotechnology research. Research topics include biological safety infrastructure and regulations, global biosecurity policies, genome editing techniques and the use of AI in biological discovery.
Countries such as China are using multiple means, including talent development and recruitment, investment and internal policies, to stimulate domestic research and development, promote scientific progress, and drive technological innovation. We document the role of legal, illegal, and extra-legal mechanisms used by such countries for these purposes. The research involves analysis of budgets, investment patterns, patent trends, talent recruitment, and other potential indicators using official Chinese and other country documents and other open-source, native-language resources.
CSET’s unique analytic approach is supported by our Data Science team, and our significant data holdings include nearly 60 analysis-ready datasets offering unprecedented coverage of the emerging technology ecosystem, bolstered by novel methods to classify these documents for analytic purposes. The team also creates data visualizations to highlight CSET research findings with graphic aids, including trackers, maps and other data-rich graphics. Recently, the team launched the Emerging Technology Observatory focused on building products that leverage CSET’s data resources and infrastructure to give external users visibility into emerging technology trends.
We have also recently launched Foundational Research Grants, a program to promote the exploration of foundational technical topics that relate to the potential national security implications of AI over the long term by funding high-quality technical research centered on specific relevant projects. Topics of current interest include: methodologies for AI treaty verification, scalable AI assurance, anti-proliferation mechanisms for AI, AI standards and testing, and other emerging technical issues at the intersection of AI safety and policymaking/regulations.
CSET is supported by grants from Open Philanthropy, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Musk Foundation, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation and the Public Interest Technology University Network.