(MilitaryTimes) The Endless Frontier Act, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and announced Wednesday, would rename the National Science Foundation as the National Science and Technology Foundation and add a technology directorate with “DARPA-like authorities” to oversee research and make contract awards in select technology areas. The $100 billion would be spread over five years.
Schumer’s bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind. A House version is co-sponsored by two members of the House Armed Services Committee: Reps. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis.
“[A]t a time of historically low interest rates, we should work to pair federal investments in research and development with public- and private-partner investments in scientific and technical moonshots,” the four lawmakers said in an USA Today op-ed this month.
The proposed technology directorate would fund research in the following technology focus areas:
Artificial intelligence and machine learning.
High-performance computing, semiconductors and advanced computer hardware.
Quantum computing and information systems.
Robotics, automation and advanced manufacturing.
Natural or anthropogenic disaster prevention.
Advanced communications technology.
Biotechnology, genomics and synthetic biology.
Advanced energy technology.
Cybersecurity, data storage and data-management technologies.
Materials science, engineering and exploration relevant to the other focus areas.
Under the bill, an additional $10 billion would be authorized to designate at least 10 regional technology hubs, which in turn would become “global centers for the research, development, and manufacturing of key technologies.”