Emerging technologies in US National Defense Authorization Act

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 recently approved in the US Congress covers several initiatives related to emerging and advanced digital technologies. To start with, a National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology is created to review advances in the field and related policy issues, and develop recommendations for the US government. Then, the Department of Defense (DoD) is directed to select ‘two or more entities; to carry out the activities of the ‘national network for microelectronics research and development’ authorised through the CHIPS for America Act. Quantum technologies are also covered in the act, which requires the DoD to ‘establish a set of activities to accelerate the development and deployment of a useful, large-scale, dual-use quantum computing capability’. When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), the act directs the DoD to ‘review the potential applications of AO and digital technologies to DoD platforms, processes, and operations’, as well as to implement a pilot programme focused on building repositories of data sets for training AI models that companies could use in developing applications for the defence sector. Last, but not least, the DoD is directed to initiate a one-year programme, together with one or more universities, to demonstrate techniques for recovering rare earth elements from acid mine drainage and other coal byproducts.