The latest military spending authorization comes with plans to increase the Pentagon’s pace and scope of technology innovation. Though generally pleased with the bill, former federal officials warned new bureaucratic hurdles within it could stymie that work.
President Joe Biden on Monday signed the massive National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2022, which approves more than $768 billion in defense spending—noticeably more money than the White House proposed. Its expensive investments were partly fueled by concerns that grew in 2021 about whether the Pentagon can modernize and gain novel capabilities fast enough to thwart American adversaries.
On top of establishing a new national security commission to study emerging biotechnology applications and a federal office and authorities to investigate DOD’s encounters with UFOs, the act also incorporates a variety of measures to ramp up the Pentagon’s deployments of emerging technologies like those associated with quantum information science, space-based assets or artificial intelligence.
“The NDAA included new investments in AI, new pathways for recruiting much-needed talent and new pilot programs for acquiring tech for warfighters,” Megan Lamberth, associate fellow in the Center for a New American Security’s Technology and National Security Program, explained. “Investments, talent and effective institutional processes are all necessary components for U.S. tech competitiveness.”
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