Since our last roundup on June 23, members of Congress have introduced nine new measures addressing artificial intelligence, science and technology. Several were standalone bills or amendments in line with consideration of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in both chambers. Here’s a guide to the latest in AI and S&T legislation:
- H.R. 7307, Foreign Advanced Technology Surveillance Act
On June 24, Representatives Curtis and Malinowski introduced the Foreign Advanced Technology Surveillance Act, to address countries’ adoption of advanced surveillance technology, such as facial recognition. The bipartisan measure requires that the State Department assess the use of advanced surveillance technology as part of its annual reporting activities on global human rights.
- H.R. 7326, the Protecting American From Spies Act
On June 25, Representative Hartzler introduced the Protecting American From Spies Act, which deems inadmissible any foreign individual that a consular officer or the Secretary of Homeland Security knows, or has reason to believe, will engage in espionage, sabotage or other activities relating to the export of goods, technology or sensitive information from the United States. Current law allows consular officers to deny visas based on an assessment of future intent. This measure expressly authorizes visa denials based on previous or ongoing technology transfer activity in the United States or elsewhere.
- H.R. 7339, the Artificial Intelligence Careers Act
On June 25, Representative Cohen introduced H.R. 7339, the Artificial Intelligence Careers Act, which directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop classifications to categorize AI-related work, identify gaps in the AI workforce, and create metrics for assessing credentials in AI fields. Similar provisions were included in an amendment adopted by the House Armed Services Committee during its markup of the FY2021 NDAA.
- S. 4082, the Artificial Intelligence Standards and National Security Act
On June 25, Senators Bennet and Portman introduced the Artificial Intelligence Standards and National Security Act. This bipartisan bill directs the Department of Defense to report on its development of AI standards in the defense industrial base and opportunities to promote greater collaboration between the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and the military services. Sens. Bennet and Portman filed two of its provisions as amendments to the F2021 NDAA.
On June 25, Senators Markey and Merkley introduced the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act, which prohibits the federal government’s use of facial recognition or other biometric technology, restricts certain federal funding for states and localities to those that enact similar measures, and bans the use of information collected by biometric technology in violation of the act in judicial proceedings. Representative Jayapal introduced a companion bill in the House.
- H.R. 7376, to establish an advisory board on national security innovation activities and extend the pilot program on defense manufacturing, and for other purposes.
On June 25, Representative Slotkin introduced H.R. 7476, which establishes an advisory board within the National Security Innovation Network to provide counsel to the NSIN Director and the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering on the most pressing national security technology priorities that the NSIN should address.
Additionally, the measure extends a pilot program through 2026 to support manufacturing and production of emerging defense and commercial technologies that meet military requirements. During its consideration of the FY2021 NDAA, the House Armed Services Committee adopted a version of the bill introduced by Rep. Slotkin as an amendment.
- S.A. 2190, American Foundries Act
On June 25, Senator Cotton led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the American Foundries Act as an amendment to the FY2021 NDAA. The amendment authorizes:
- $15 billion for the Department of Commerce to provide grant funding to states to assist in the “construction, expansion or modernization…of microelectronics fabrication, assembly, test, advanced packaging, or advanced research and development facilities”;
- $5 billion for the Department of Defense to provide grant funding to advanced microelectronics manufacturing or R&D facilities capable of producing secure and specialized chips for national security applications; and
- $5 billion for advanced microelectronics R&D across the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The measure also establishes a subcommittee within the President’s Council on Science and Technology to guide and coordinate next-generation microelectronics research, promote the microelectronics workforce and support cooperation across government, industry and academia.
- S. 4200, Modernization Centers of Excellence Program Act
On July 2, Senators Portman and Hassan introduced the Modernization Centers of Excellence Program Act, a bipartisan bill to accelerate the adoption of advanced technology by executive agencies. The measure directs the Administrator of General Services to establish a program that assists agencies in adopting advanced information technology, including AI applications, by promoting partnerships with the commercial sector, sharing best practices and providing planning and support for the adoption of new technologies.