Analysis

Melissa Flagg

Senior Fellow
Defense
R&D
Research
S&T
Strategy
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Dr. Melissa Flagg is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) at Georgetown University. Previously she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research, responsible for policy and oversight Defense Department science and technology programs including basic research through advanced technology development and the DoD laboratory enterprise. She has worked at the State Department, the Office of Naval Research, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Army Research Laboratory.

Melissa also ran her own consulting business and was the Chief Technology Officer of a small consumer start-up. She has served on numerous boards including the National Academy of Sciences Air Force Studies Board and the Department of Commerce Emerging Technology Research Advisory Committee; she is on the Board of Humanity 2050 and a full trustee with the DC Chapter of the Awesome Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and a B.S. in Pharmacy.

Research and development funding and technological leadership are crucial to sustaining America’s comparative advantages. While the prevailing narrative suggests that China leads in a bipolar competition, in reality, the United States and its allies comprise a majority of global R&D.

With the increasing importance of artificial intelligence and the competition for AI talent, it is essential to understand the U.S. domestic industrial AI landscape. A new CSET data brief maps where AI talent is produced, where it concentrates, and where AI equity funding goes. This mapping reveals distinct AI hubs emerging across the country, with different growth rates, investment levels, and potential access to talent.