Rep. Eshoo Applauds AI, Cyber, Semiconductor Provisions of Conferenced NDAA

December 9, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), released the following statement after the House passed the Conference Report associated with H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.

“I’m pleased that House and Senate conferees have agreed to a strong NDAA that includes several robust and smart provisions to strengthen America’s leadership in AI, cybersecurity, and semiconductor manufacturing. I’m especially pleased the conferenced NDAA includes my bipartisan and bicameral legislation, the National AI Research Resource Task Force Act, which establishes a task force to develop a roadmap for a national research cloud to promote R&D,” said Rep. Eshoo. “The conferenced NDAA also includes two amendments I authored to enhance reporting of the Pentagon’s AI efforts, along with legislation I cosponsored to create the National Cyber Director role in the White House and to bolster our country’s semiconductor manufacturing capabilities. I look forward to the bill’s enactment into law.”

Provisions Rep. Eshoo Authored or Cosponsored

H.R. 7096, the National AI Research Resource Task Force Act, was introduced in the House by Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM). The legislation calls for a group of technical experts across academia, government, and industry to develop a detailed plan for how the U.S. can build, deploy, govern, and sustain a national AI research cloud which makes available high power computing, pools large data sets, and shares educational resources with researchers. H.R. 7096 appears as Section 5106 of the NDAA Conference Report.

The National AI Research Resource Task Force Act is supported by Chairman Eric Schmidt and Vice Chairman Bob Work of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, Stanford University, the Ohio State University, Princeton University, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, UCLA, Duke University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, University of Washington, Yale University, University of Florida, Allen Institute for AI, OpenAI, Mozilla, IEEE-USA, Google, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, NVIDIA, Orbital Insight, Calypso AI, and Scale AI.

The conferenced NDAA also includes language based on two AI-related amendments Rep. Eshoo offered, and the House adopted, on July 20. House NDAA floor Amendment #131 requires the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) of the DOD to report on its contribution to the development of AI standards in multi-stakeholder bodies. House NDAA floor Amendment #132 requires the JAIC to report on the assignments servicemembers receive after they complete their duty with the JAIC. Both were adopted as part of H.Amdt. 841 to H.R. 6395 and appear in Section 231 of the conferenced NDAA.

Rep. Eshoo also cosponsored key technology provisions of the conferenced NDAA:

  • The CHIPS for America Act, introduced by Reps. Matsui and McCaul, restores American leadership in semiconductor manufacturing (Title XCIX of the conferenced NDAA)
  • A provision establishing the role of the National Cyber Director within the Executive Office of the President, based on the National Cyber Director Act, introduced by Rep. Langevin (Section 1752 of the conferenced NDAA)
  • The National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act, introduced by Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson, establishes an initiative to accelerate and coordinate investments and partnerships in AI research, standards, and education (Division E of the conferenced NDAA)

Background on the NDAA

The Conference Report for H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, is an agreement of members of a conference committee named by the House and Senate to reconcile differences between the House-passed and Senate-passed NDAA bills. It contains important provisions to support servicemembers and make the military more inclusive.

The legislation gives a much-deserved 3.0 percent pay raise to our men and women in uniform, authorizes funds for responding to the pandemic, and establishes standards to improve the quality of military housing.

As our nation experiences a long overdue reckoning on racial injustice, this legislation ensures that the military is welcoming to all Americans by removing Confederate names from bases, setting goals for increasing representation of women and minorities, and establishing a Chief Diversity Officer for each service branch.