By Joseph F. Dunford, Frances Townsend, and Michael Morell

The United States and China are locked in a high-stakes competition for global technological leadership. Central to this contest is artificial intelligence (AI), a domain not merely of public interest but of profound strategic importance. AI holds the potential to redefine national security paradigms, fuel economic engines, and propel the influence of democratic – or authoritarian – principles across the globe, depending on which country wins the tech race.

As AI has catapulted into the limelight, divergent approaches to its governance have crystallized. To date, the United States, alongside nations such as the UK and Canada, has advocated for a framework of voluntary and adaptable standards designed alongside key allies and industry leaders. This approach aims not only to harness AI’s transformative potential but also to mitigate its risks through collaborative engagement.

On the other hand, the European Union (EU), with its rushed enactment of the EU AI Act, and China, with its authoritarian conventions, chart an alternate course that prioritizes control and regulation.

These distinct paths highlight a fundamental question: How can the United States maintain its AI leadership and ensure its dynamic and open approach to AI becomes the prevailing global norm?

To navigate this complex landscape, we propose four “First Principles” to ensure American AI leadership: innovation and openness, principled leadership, strategic public-private collaborations, and balanced global engagement.

Read more at Real Clear Defense.