Bennet-Backed Language Would Promote U.S. Tech Competitiveness and Engagement with the Private Sector
Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet secured four provisions in the bipartisan Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, which passed yesterday in the Senate Intelligence Committee 16-0. The bill authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). The Bennet provisions would strengthen U.S. competitiveness in key emerging technologies by requiring a new National Technology Strategy and strengthening cooperation between the IC and private sector in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and space, among other provisions.
“As countries like China race ahead in key emerging technologies, we have to step up or risk getting left behind,” said Bennet. “America is long overdue for a National Technology Strategy to anticipate and secure our advantage in technologies critical to our security and competitiveness. We also have to harness our natural advantages in areas like artificial intelligence and space by strengthening cooperation with the private sector.”
"The bill passed out of the committee is a step in the right direction in getting our country to have the National Technology Strategy that provides guidance on prioritizing emerging technologies. This will ensure that we maintain American leadership in science and technology for national security purposes. We appreciate Senators Bennet and Sasse, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's leadership on this important effort," said Ylli Bajraktari, executive director of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.
Bennet Provisions in the 2021 Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA):
- National Technology Strategy: This provision, backed by Bennet and U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), requires the President to produce a National Technology Strategy to maintain U.S. leadership in emerging technologies essential to national security and economic prosperity. This strategy should also include a classified annex with an investment strategy for developing and procuring technologies of strategic importance. This provision stemmed from a recommendation from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Final Report and was initially introduced by Bennet and Sasse as an amendment to the USICA.
- Supporting Innovation in Space: The provision requires the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to report on the IC’s efforts to build a hybrid space architecture that integrates national and commercial capabilities, along with both large and small satellites.
- Enhancing IC Adoption of Artificial Intelligence: This provision, backed by Bennet and Sasse, requires the IC to develop a plan to strengthen collaboration between the public and private sectors to enable continuous, timely updates for artificial intelligence-powered applications critical to national security. The provision requires recommendations to ensure the use of AI and associated data comports with privacy and civil rights.
- Bolstering Analysis on Emerging Technologies: This provision requires the DNI to assess commercial and foreign trends in technologies of strategic importance to the United States, including top technology focus areas where adversaries are poised to match or surpass U.S. leadership.
The IAA for FY 2022 ensures that the Intelligence Community can perform its critical mission to protect our country and inform decisionmakers, while under robust Congressional oversight, including in the following key areas:
- Ensuring strong congressional oversight of and protections for IC whistleblowers who come forward to report waste, fraud or abuse, including the ability of whistleblowers to directly contact the congressional intelligence committees, and prohibiting the disclosure of whistleblower identities as a form of reprisal;
- Improving the IC’s response to the anomalous health incidents (AHI), known as “Havana Syndrome,” including by establishing a joint task force to address AHI, establishing a panel to assess the CIA’s response to AHI, requiring reporting on interagency AHI efforts, and providing affected IC employees and family members with access to expert medical advice and health facilities, including Walter Reed Medical Center;
- Increasing investments to address the growing national security threats and challenges posed by the Chinese Communist Party and its related influence operations, including in technology, infrastructure, and digital currencies;
- Improving the IC’s ability to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies;
- Continuing the Committee’s commitment to reform and improve the security clearance process, including mandating a performance management framework to assess the adoption and effectiveness of the Executive Branch’s “Trusted Workforce 2.0” initiative; more accurately measuring how long it takes to transfer clearances between Federal agencies so it can be shortened; creating IC-wide policies to share information on cleared contractors to enhance the effectiveness of insider threat programs, and codifying the appeals process to increase its transparency and accountability;
- Codifying the National Counterintelligence and Security Center’s role and authorities regarding counterintelligence programs;
- Addressing intelligence requirements in key locations worldwide, including in Latin America and Africa to confront foreign adversaries’ efforts to undermine the U.S. abroad;
- Bolstering investments in commercial imagery and analytic services to utilize the increasing capabilities offered in the commercial space sector, including through the establishment of a GEOINT data innovation fund;
- Strengthening the IC’s ability to conduct financial intelligence; and
- Supporting the IC’s efforts to assess unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), following up on the work of the UAP Task Force.