Opening Remarks of Co-Chairman Banks

Oct 29, 2019
Opening Statement
Defense Innovation Task Force: Theories of Victory

WASHINGTON- Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Co-Chairman of the Committee's bi-partisan Defense Innovation Task Force made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, ahead of a hearing titled "Theories of Victory: Innovation and National Security":

"Thank you, Seth.

"I would like to start by thanking Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Thornberry for establishing this bi-partisan Future of Defense Task Force.  We have been chartered to review U.S. defense capabilities and assess the state of the national security innovation base to meet emerging threats and the rise of global competitors.  It is a vitally important task and one that I do not take lightly.  I would also like to thank my co-chair, Congressman Moulton.  I look forward to working with you and the other members of this Task Force.

"And welcome to our witnesses.  I cannot think of two more qualified individuals to be here with us today to kick off this Task Force.  Thank you, Ms. Flournoy and special thank you to Senator Talent, who I have the privilege of serving with on the Reagan Institute Task Force on Innovation and National Security.  It’s good to see you again.  

"This Task Force’s mandate underpins the foundations of our competitive advantage as a nation; how will we prioritize research and development, harness emerging technologies, sustain an innovation ecosystem, and rapidly field new capabilities to deliver them into the hands of our warfighters.  The qualitative edge over our rivals is dwindling, and we can no longer afford to take for granted the military dominance we have enjoyed.  China’s whole-of-society approach, amplified by double digit annual growth in their research and development spending, and frequent maleficence -- intellectual property theft, cyber intrusions, and espionage -- have propelled their defense science and technology efforts.

"And while China’s rise is a poignant example, much of the challenge we face today has to do with our own ability to create and sustain a domestic National Security Innovation Base.  We must address fundamental aspects of our domestic innovation ecosystem by:

  • Increasing the pipeline of domestic STEM talent; 
  • Improving and expanding the infrastructure that will keep us competitive in fields like hypersonics, quantum information sciences, and 5G;
  • Removing impediments to innovation and speed the adoption of commercial technologies, and;
  • Creating more opportunities for collaboration and shared experiences between the defense community, policymakers, and private sector technologists.  

"As we build a blueprint for the future of defense, we must ensure it has been informed by engagement like this one today; with input from industry, academia, and government.  We must embrace our role in not only the development of new technologies, but also as the global leader in the responsible use of these capabilities and counter-narrative to China.  We must elevate the public conversation surrounding the health of our national security innovation base and what action is required to meet emerging threats and the rise of global competitors.  In the end, we must ensure all Americans understand the true cost of inaction.  

"I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today."

116th Congress