Institute for a Competitive Workforce Highlights Link Between Education, National Security

June 15, 2012

U.S. Chamber, Council on Foreign Relations, and Raytheon Gather to Examine Independent Task Force Report

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), will host an event today to discuss an Independent Task Force report launched by CFR titled, U.S. Education Reform and National Security. The event, sponsored by Raytheon, will highlight the impact the U.S. education system has on global security issues.

The report finds that the United States’ failure to educate students adequately leaves them unprepared to compete and thrive in today’s global economy. This lack of preparedness poses a threat on five fronts, including: economic growth and competitiveness, physical safety, intellectual property, U.S. global awareness, and U.S. unity and cohesion.

“When it comes to science, technology, engineering and math or STEM courses, it is imperative that we work harder to secure America’s future in the global marketplace,” said former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. “The issue before us is not just a matter of catching up with our global competitors. We must find a way to help our students leap ahead of them and excel in the fields of defense, technology and cyber security.”

The report offers three broad policy recommendations to repair America’s lagging education system:

  • Implement educational expectations and assessments in subjects that are important to our national security.
  • Make structural changes in order to provide students and families with school choice options.
  • Have a “national security readiness audit” in order to hold schools and policymakers accountable for results and to raise public awareness.

"Education excellence – especially in STEM – is crucial for America’s competitive position, prosperity, and national security,” added Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Security at Raytheon, Keith Peden. “When businesses partner with educators and educational organizations, together we can set a foundation for student success that translates to professional opportunity.”

The Task Force is co-chaired by Joel I. Klein, former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, and Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state and national security adviser. View the full report

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce is the education and workforce nonpartisan, non-profit, 501(c)(3) affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. ICW promotes the rigorous educational standards and effective job training systems needed to preserve the strength of America's greatest economic resource, its workforce.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.