STEFANIK: PREPARING OUR NATION FOR 21ST CENTURY CHALLENGES IN THE DIGITAL AGE
By Rep. Elise Stefanik - January 28, 2018
The Washington Times
In early December of 2017, world technology leaders assembled in Wuzhen, China, for the 4th Annual World Internet Conference. It was a widely attended event and included the chief executive officers of Apple and Google. The theme of the conference was “developing a digital economy of openness and shared benefits.”
As Chairwoman of the subcommittee that provides oversight of DARPA, whose technological breakthroughs created the Internet itself, I found myself concerned that such an event wasn’t being held in the United States, already home of a digital economy of openness and shared benefits.
The House Armed Services Committee, and my subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities in particular, has for the past several years reviewed in detail China’s advances in technology, including their cyber and information warfare capabilities and advanced weapons systems such as hypersonics and directed energy. Just a few weeks ago, we held an open hearing focused on many of the newer technologies that China is investing in to support their national objectives, including artificial intelligence, high-performance and quantum computing, and genomic engineering.
What we learned was alarming. China continues to increase their research and development investments at an alarming pace and is rapidly closing many of their technology gaps. More and more, they use only domestic Chinese firms while creating high market-access barriers to support domestic capacity. The effect is to replace any and all dependency on foreign companies, investments and technologies.
Aside from the obvious economic benefit of China being able to create millions of exclusive, high-paying, high-skill jobs for its workers, there are also obvious national security implications should they corner the market on advanced technologies critical to national security.
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Rep. Elise Stefanik, New York Republican, is Chairwoman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.