Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., have announced a pair of AI-focused bipartisan bills to strengthen U.S. AI readiness and support long-term AI investments.

The bills being introduced are the Artificial Intelligence Capabilities and Transparency (AICT) Act – which would implement National Security Commission on AI (NSCAI) recommendations from its final report – and the Artificial Intelligence for the Military (AIM) Act—which would operationalize additional NSCAI recommendations related to the military’s technology workforce.

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“When Congress created the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence it was with the expectation that the Commission provide Congress will the ideas to keep the United States as the world’s AI leader. I am pleased to say that the Commission has delivered,” said Sen. Portman in a statement. “Ensuring that AI is trustworthy and transparent, and that our warfighters are skilled in the nuances of emerging technology are common sense priorities.”

The AICT Act aims to increase Federal AI capabilities through improving talent recruitment and enabling the adoption of new AI tech more quickly, while providing increased transparency and accountability for Federal AI systems. Specifically, the AICT Act would:

  • Establish a Chief Digital Recruiting Officer within the Defense Department (DoD), Department of Energy (DoE), and the Intelligence Community (IC) to identify digital talent needs and recruit personnel from the private sector, academia, and other sources;
  • Establish a pilot AI development and prototyping fund of $50 million within DoD to develop and transition promising AI-enabled technologies that meet the military’s operational needs;
  • Develop a resourcing plan for DoD to enable development, testing, fielding, and continuous updates of AI-powered applications at speed and scale for headquarters and field units;
  • “Expresses the Sense of Congress” that the National Science Foundation establish focus areas in AI safety and AI ethics as part of the establishment of new, federally funded National AI Institutes over the coming year; and
  • Require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish an accreditation assessment that will certify an organization’s ability to review DoD, DoE, IC, and FBI AI systems and identify privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties effects on U.S. citizens.

The AIM Act, more specifically, seeks to improve education and training on AI for junior officers and DoD leadership to better use AI. According to the press release, the bill “builds on legislation that Senators Portman and Heinrich successfully passed in the two previous NDAA’s, the Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act (AI-IA), AI for the Armed Forces Act, the National AI Research Resource Task Force, and the Armed Forces Digital Advantage Act.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.