Login | July 15, 2020

Endless Frontier Act introduced to ensure US tech primacy

Published: June 26, 2020

US House and Senate members have introduced multibillion-dollar bipartisan, bicameral legislation to upgrade and expand the public and private US technology sector.
The new legislation is sponsored by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI).
Called the Endless Frontier Act (EFA), the bills are designed to supercharge a US response to other countries’ public and private technology efforts—particularly China’s.
The Chinese government is expected to invest $1.4 trillion in emerging tech over the next six years. In addition, giant Chinese tech company Tencent is expected to invest $70 billion in infrastructure alone over the next five years. China is also investing in private tech companies. For instance, Chinese chipmaker SMIC recently announced a $2 billion investment from state-backed funds. In addition, a considerable amount of Chinese tech is simply stolen, much of it from US companies.
EFA proposes to restructure the National Science Foundation into the National Science and Technology Foundation (NSTF). In the NSTF, the bill would create a Technology Directorate that receives $100 billion over five years and operates like DARPA (as opposed to China’s multi-trillion dollar investment). It would also give the Commerce Department $10 billion to invest across 10-15 regional tech hubs over five years.
“To win the 21st century, we need to invest in the technologies of the future,” said Khanna in the press release. “That means increasing public funding into those sectors of our economy that will drive innovation and create new jobs. Particularly at a moment when so many folks are in need of stable employment, Congress should do everything in our power to develop sustainable industries across our country that will be here to stay, or else risk losing our competitive edge to China.”
The proposed US response to all that looks pretty weak—and even this bill will, of course, have a hard time passing. But at least it’s something.
It is an “all of the above” strategy. But it can only work, IMO, with about ten times the investment, every sector of US business on board, and lots of fraud detection. Think that will happen?
Read the entire press release, with details of EFA here (or just go to Ro Khanna’s website): https://khanna.house.gov/media/press-releases/release-khanna-schumer-young-gallagher-unveil-endless-frontier-act-bolster-us