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American Institute of Physics provides preview of 2021 National Defense Authorization Act

At the end of July, the House and Senate approved separate versions of this year’s NDAA, expected to be finalized during the Fall. These provisions included in this year’s annual legislation touch on all aspects of national security, with many aiming to strengthen the defense R&D enterprise, promote specific military technologies, and bolster U.S. nuclear security. To address the topic covered, AIP published a new bulletin this week, with highlighted changes below:

National security innovation base

  • The establishment of a new position of assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy
  • The provision of a directive to recommend executive, regulatory, and legislative steps needed to implement a 2017 executive order on strengthening the defense industrial base
  • The creation of an advisory board for National Security Innovation Capital or National Security Innovation Network to promote collaboration between the department, universities, and technology startups
  • The bolstering of National Nuclear Security Administration monitoring efforts
  • The initiation of a study of China’s defense industrial base, focusing on manufacturing capacity, capability gaps, workforce skills and education, and supply chain integrity

Research security and talent recruitment

  • The initiation of a National Academies study to compare U.S. and Chinese efforts to “recruit and retain domestic and foreign researchers”
  • The uniform requirement that prospective recipients of grants or cooperative agreements disclose all current and pending support and the sources of such support at the time of the application for funds
  • The removal of a provision to exempt “basic research” from streamlined vetting procedures
  • The designation of an official responsible for liaising with the academic and research communities
  • The additional of employment restrictions for current and former employee to work for companies controlled by the Chinese government
  • The publication of a list of foreign talent programs that pose a threat to U.S. national security interests
  • The assessment of exchanges of scientists, engineers, and academics between China and Russia
  • The initial exploration regarding the creation of a talent recruitment program for the national security innovation base
  • The creation of a new immigration category for scientific or technical experts who are specially endorsed by the secretary of defense

Additional Information

https://www.aip.org/fyi/2020/innovation-base-and-research-security-proposals-fy21-national-defense-authorization-act