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CACI's London calls for focus on U.S. competitiveness

The United States is the number one nation in the world – in labor redundancy costs. We are also top ranked as far as availability of airline seats. But where do we rank in terms of competitive advantage of companies globally? Twenty-fifth.

And that’s got to change, said CACI International executive chairman Jack London at TechAmerica’s Technology and Government Dinner on Thursday, where he received the 2014 Corporate Leadership Award.

“I want to address questions about American competitiveness in the world, and I would propose that by adopting new perspectives on technology, opportunity and innovation, we can get answers to those questions we face because our focus has to be on progress now,” London said.

It should not be a difficult endeavor to take the lead back. American organizations are leading the way in practically every industry, London said, and what needs to be done is we, as a country, need to focus on what competitiveness really means.

“There are three key factors today that shape a company’s performance in global competition: technology, opportunity and innovation. Technology is the exploitation of knowledge, tools and systems; opportunity is the crossroads between favorable circumstances; and innovation is the introduction of better ways of doing things and getting better results,” London said.

“Their combination defines a nation’s competitive ability, and excelling in these areas creates the momentum that always makes America the one to beat,” he added.

As far as technology goes, the United States is no stranger. We have the internet, smartphones, applications and the list goes on. “But our ability to exploit knowledge, tools and systems isn’t about developing the next big fancy gadgets; we need to see technology in the big picture … think of new technology as our competitive infrastructure,” London said.

Secondly, America might be known as the land of opportunity, but it is bogged down by complex tax codes and harsh regulations, London said. Referring to the U.S. Competitiveness Project at Harvard Business School, London urges Congress and the current administration to simplify tax codes, streamline regulation and improve infrastructure as part of the national strategy to boost U.S. competitiveness.

By doing those things, the country can “restore the confidence to do business in the United States,” London said.

Innovation is facing difficult times, as well. “Innovation has been countered by several factors including an inability to create jobs, stagnant wages, and a struggling manufacturing sector,” but London said that necessity may be the mother of invention, and has faith in the United States to find solutions to these problems.

“American competitiveness will continue to be aggressively challenged. We must take control of our future and assert leadership. New perspectives about technology, opportunity and innovation are a start, but we must also remove obstacles and better position our people and our country,” London said.

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