In recent weeks, lawmakers were laser-focused on passing a continuing resolution to keep the government’s lights on and attempting to negotiate economic relief legislation before the end of the fiscal year — and before members leave town ahead of elections. However, Congress has also continued to advance lower-profile — but still noteworthy — provisions affecting U.S. development of artificial intelligence and emerging technology.
The House of Representatives was quite active in the month of September, with members introducing milestone new legislation and committees reporting out significant measures — and, noteworthy this close to a national election, folks voting to adopt new bills in a bipartisan fashion.
Among all this activity, here are the month’s developments of particular interest at the intersection of emerging tech and national/international security:
- H.R. 2575, AI in Government Act
On September 14, the House passed H.R. 2575, the AI in Government Act by voice vote – that is, without a roll call. The bipartisan bill introduced by Representative McNerney and then-Representative Meadows codifies the General Services Administration’s Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence and directs it to:
- convene agencies, academia and industry to discuss developments in AI technology;
- collect and publish information regarding AI initiatives within the U.S. government;
- advise the Office of Management and Budget on AI policy;
- assist agencies with implementation of AI programs and adoption of federal policies regarding data management for AI applications; and
- advise the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on developments in AI.
With a June approval by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senate companion legislation (S. 1363) now awaits floor consideration.
2. H.R. 8132, American COMPETE Act
On September 29, the House passed H.R. 8132, the American COMPETE Act. The bipartisan legislation by Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers and colleagues includes eight proposals, each previously introduced as a stand-alone bill, to promote U.S. technological development. It includes provisions pulled from H.R. 6950, the Generation AI Network Security (GAINS) Act and H.R. 6919, the Advancing Quantum Computing Act that require the Commerce Department to track the effects on U.S. businesses conducting interstate commerce of new AI and quantum computing technologies, respectively.
3. H.R. 8183, the ADAPT Act
On September 8, Representative Anthony Brown introduced the ADAPT Act, which amends existing public-private talent exchange programs within the Department of Defense to promote the exchange of artificial intelligence experts between DOD and the private sector. Specifically, the bill directs DOD to:
- place five uniformed service members and three civilians in each service and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense with private sector organizations working on AI, through the Secretary of Defense Executive Fellows program;
- place 10 government civilians in industry and place 10 private sector employees in DOD to work on AI applications through the public-private talent exchange program of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (USD/AS);
- establish programs under the direction of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and the DOD Chief Information Officer similar to the existing program under USD/A&S.
4. H.R. 8230, the Integrating New Technologies to Empower Law Enforcement at Our Borders Act
On September 11, Representative Slotkin led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing H.R. 8230, the Integrating New Technologies to Empower Law (INTEL) Enforcement at Our Borders Act. The INTEL Act directs the Department of Homeland Security to report to Congress with a plan for integrating advanced technologies — including artificial intelligence — into border security operations. It requires an assessment of the Department’s current use of advanced technologies and how they can be further applied to fill security gaps along the northern and southern borders.
5. H.Con.Res.116, Expressing the sense of Congress with respect to the principles that should guide the national artificial intelligence strategy of the United States.
On September 16, Representatives Will Hurd and Robin Kelly introduced H.Con.Res.116, which expresses congressional support for a number of activities relevant to a U.S. AI strategy, including efforts to support workforce development, national security, global leadership and ethical technological development. The resolution calls for:
- increased investments in technology education and curriculum development;
- an alliance-centric approach to the development and deployment of AI;
- expanded access to research and development resources; and
- review and revision of relevant laws and regulations to account for the fielding of AI technologies.
This resolution is the culmination of a months-long effort led by the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Representatives Hurd and Kelly, to develop a national AI strategy. Four reports were released under the project’s banner, including “Artificial Intelligence and National Security,” which CSET wrote with the BPC.
6. H.R. 8346, Academic Research Protection Act
On September 22, Representative Reschenthaler introduced H.R. 8346, the Academic Research Protection Act. The bipartisan legislation:
- designates an academic liaison in DOD responsible for working with the academic community to protect against research security threats;
- establishes a “National Commission on Academic Research Protection” to protect against undue foreign influence at higher-education institutions performing federally-funded research;
- creates an open source clearinghouse for providing threat information to the academic community;
- mandates that the Department of Commerce issue export control guidance to higher education institutes;and
- directs the development of a Federal Bureau of Investigation outreach strategy to improve coordination with academia.