The House Armed Services Committee added several amendments to its fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill per recommendations from new artificial intelligence and cyber commissions, to include bolstering private sector AI partnerships and establishing new forums for cyber threat sharing.

The amendments were added during Wednesday’s mark-up hearing for the bill, which the committee then voted unanimously to approve.

Low angled view of the U.S. Capitol East Facade Front in Washington, DC.

 Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who lead the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, introduced several amendments based on recommendations from the new National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI).

“The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence’s work will lay the foundation for the country’s workforce, ethics and security requirements as machine learning and artificial intelligence tools become more prevalent across societies,” Langevin said. “Artificial intelligence is ushering us into a new national security environment, from tracking and targeting to command and control. As we develop our capabilities, so do our adversaries.”

The AI-related provisions include ensuring the Pentagon has capabilities to determine that all future AI procurements are ethically developed as well as directing the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to brief on efforts to bolster relationships with the private sector and academia.

HASC’s bill now also includes an amendment to establish a new executive steering committee on emerging technologies to study AI-related national security threats, and to be composed of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security as well other appointed officials.

“Our ability to apply artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies faster than our adversaries will allow us to maintain our competitive edge over Russia and China,” Stefanik said.

Langevin also introduced several amendments from recommendations out of the new Cyberspace Solarium Commission, to include establishing DoD threat intelligence sharing programs with the defense industrial base and studying the potential for a new Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity Threat Hunting Program.

The commission, which is led by Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), released its year-long report in March, detailing 75 recommendations to begin a new structural approach to cyber deterrence and establishing steps for a new national cyber strategy (Defense Daily, March 11). 

The HASC bill also includes a directive for the Homeland Security Secretary, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and Director of National Intelligence, to “develop an information collaboration environment and associated analytic tools that enable entities to identify, mitigate, and prevent malicious cyber activity.”