Opening Remarks of Co-Chairman Banks

Feb 5, 2020
Opening Statement
Supercharging the Innovation Base


WASHINGTON, DC - Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), co-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Future of Defense Task Force, made the following statement, as prepared for delivery, at a Task Force hearing titled, "Supercharging the Innovation Base:"

"Thank you, Seth. And thank you to the witnesses for being here this morning.

"The Task Force has just crossed the halfway point of its remit. Over the last three months we have held hearings and briefings focused on theories of victory and explored the different critical technology areas that are fundamental to our national security; Autonomous systems, biotechnology, Cyber, artificial intelligence, and hypersonics. Just as importantly, we have investigated how these technologies will interact in future conflicts that will require a fully sensing, intelligent, and distributed command and control environment. And while we are still a long way out from realizing the battlefield of the future that I described; the investments that we make today in our innovation base and technology infrastructure will shape our future military superiority. But government alone cannot lead this charge. It is critical that we partner with industry, leverage commercial research and development, harness emerging technologies, and break down the barriers that prevent the most innovative businesses from wanting to work with the Department of Defense. 

"This Task Force has also surveyed the front-lines of the great power competition landscape, where U.S. and Chinese influence, technologies, and narratives are vying for a receptive global audience. One of the common themes we heard was the importance of U.S. competitiveness in critical technologies and the desire for Western alternatives to China’s technology offerings. We must recognize that there is opportunity for the U.S. to lead in the development and responsible use of these capabilities, but also acknowledge that this will require additional investment in our own domestic innovation base. 

"Welcome to our witnesses. Thank you, Mr. Eric Fanning, and special thank you to Mr. Raj Shah and Mr. Chris Brose, who I also had the privilege of serving with on the Reagan Institute Task Force on Innovation and National Security. It’s good to see you again. Each of the organizations you represent exemplify our competitive advantage as a nation. I applaud your willingness to tackle some of our most pressing defense challenges and your relentless courage to innovate. 

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

116th Congress