WATCH: Stefanik Opening Statement at Joint Hearing on National Security Commission on AI Recommendations

March 12, 2021
Press Release

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Washington, DC - Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik delivered the following opening statement at a joint subcommittee hearing with the House Oversight & Reform Subcommittee on National Security on “Final Recommendations of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.”

Congresswoman Stefanik is the Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems.

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence is a critical step forward that I am proud to have championed in the House with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis, and today's hearing is the culmination of years of hard work of our Commission.
 
Chairman Schmidt, Vice Chairman Work, Commissioner Clyburn, and Commissioner Louie, thank you for serving on the Commission and for testifying today. Your efforts will serve as a blueprint for how our country will respond to, develop, and lead the world in artificial intelligence capabilities. 
 
As we know, AI not only provides immense technological opportunities and innovation, but AI will also bring significant risks as our adversaries will deploy AI to challenge American interests and security, on our own shores and abroad. And importantly, as you laid out in your final recommendations, AI will affect every facet of life going forward, from civil society, to our economy, and of course, national security.
 
For the Department of Defense specifically, this final report is stark in its assessment: China will surpass the Unites States in AI leadership and win the innovation race if we fail to invest in emerging technologies and if we fail to take a whole of government approach to AI. The impact on our national security is profound and disturbing, and the report concluded China will achieve superiority over the U.S. within the next decade if we don’t solve our organizational and investment challenges by 2025—just four years from now.
 
We face hard choices given our limited resources to maintain that technological advantage over China. Future conflicts will take place on an AI battlefield, and we must consider the future of systems that are not AI-enabled. Simply put, DOD must be willing to take risks, and Congress should support those efforts.
 
Further, the U.S. cannot win this competition if we don’t have the right workforce. The Commission highlighted our talent deficit and concluded this problem is the greatest impediment to being AI-ready by 2025. Chairman Langevin and I are committed to solving this talent deficit, and last year we introduced legislation to retain technical talent here in the U.S. I also look forward to hearing more about the Digital Service Academy recommendation, and other ways we can develop the necessary workforce within the DOD.
 
Alternatively, our private sector is driving many of the advancements in AI, and we should encourage increased collaboration between the Department and private sector partners. This subcommittee understands the issues many companies have interacting with DOD—primarily the onerous acquisition process. This report underscores the importance of reducing the red tape so the Department doesn’t hinder cooperation with the private sector. 
 
Again, I am very proud of the work done by this Commission, and of the work we did to include recommendations in last year’s NDAA. But more work must be done. Our warfighters must have the most advanced technological capabilities to deter and defeat our adversaries in an AI environment. To improve the lethality and capabilities of our forces, we must continue supporting the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and enable the Services and combatant commands to develop, tailor, and deploy AI systems to the battlespace."