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Obama, Romney, and the U.S. R&D Complex

The candidates aren’t saying much about their plans for the nation’s R&D enterprise, but they need to—and fast

6 min read
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Photo: Left: Ron Sachs/Bloomberg/Getty Images; Right: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

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The two major-party presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, say little about how the United States forges policies and practices around its vast R&D enterprise. Their inattention is peculiar given that the federal government spends US $140 billion on it annually. For Obama and Romney, the way forward is to spend more money on more ambitious R&D projects and in ways that relate only loosely to meeting national needs.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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