Economic Espionage

Economic Espionage

Economic Espionage

Throughout history, America's adversaries have routinely taken their competitive efforts beyond the battlefield. They frequently avoid using standing armies, shirk traditional spy circles, and go after the heart of what drives American prosperity and fuels American might. Nazi spies during World War II tried to penetrate the secrets behind our aviation technology, just as Soviet spies in the Cold War targeted our nuclear and other military secrets. Today, foreign intelligence services, criminals, and private sector spies focus their efforts on American industry and commerce.

These adversaries employ traditional intelligence methods against vulnerable American companies. However, their gaze has shifted to the cyber realm. The cyber environment, where critical business and technological information resides, provides a fast, efficient, and relatively safe avenue for penetrating the foundations of our economy. Their actions jeopardize intellectual property, trade secrets, and technological advancements vital for national security. Economic espionage against the private sector poses a long-term threat to U.S. prosperity.

Corrective action demands collaboration between the Federal Government and the private sector. Technologies nurtured by American minds and universities are at risk of becoming the spoils of competing nations. Unfortunately, the private sector alone lacks the resources and expertise to effectively thwart foreign attempts to pilfer critical American know-how.

Counterintelligence, not a typical corporate function, faces two challenges. One the cost. CI measures consume resources that could otherwise fuel growth. Second is the Nature of Public Corporations. Shareholders and growth ambitions drive American companies into developing markets, often leaving them vulnerable to espionage.

In this high-stakes game, vigilance, cooperation, and strategic investment are essential to safeguarding America’s future prosperity and security.

Reports, Briefings & Reading Material:

Foreign Economic Espionage in Cyberspace

National Counterintelligence and Security Center