Senate’s bipartisan innovation bill is key to American leadership in 21st century tech

Before the United States entered World War II, American industry created the Arsenal of Democracy, the hardware that rolled out of the factories and saved civilization.

To win the future, to once again beat and surpass our rivals, America must raise another arsenal of democracy. But one designed for the 21st century.

Today, Russian tanks drive on Ukrainian roads. Chinese bombs could then fall from the skies of Taiwan. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping lead an illiberal alliance that seeks global primacy and rejects democracy.

It is a turning point in history. We need to be clear about the threats China and Russia pose to America and its allies.

A great power struggle is underway. If we fail to prepare for it or develop a plan to win it, America will lose the future. A world ruled by superpowers that do not share our values ​​or value human dignity is dangerous.

When it comes to deterring our global adversaries, it’s time for the United States to unleash private sector innovation while dramatically increasing federal investments in national security.

China and Russia have strengthened their naval and air strike capabilities and are making significant progress in cyber warfare. the The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has successfully tested a hypersonic gliding vehicle capable of delivering a nuclear weapon while avoiding detection by United States early warning radar tracking systems.

After years of decline, military spending has increased under the Trump administration, but that has only made up for the mistakes of the past. It did not prepare us for the future.

Today, many Democrats in Congress are once again calling for reckless cuts to the Pentagon budget. This reversal would be good news in Beijing and Moscow. It is paramount that our military remain the most capable in the world and that our men and women in uniform never have to fight fair.
But as we strive to avoid another bloody conflict, it is equally important that the outcome of this global competition be won in labs, across campuses, on assembly lines.

China does not only buy military equipment. the CCP invests heavily – $1.4 trillion through 2025 — on advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, 5G and advanced manufacturing.

America remains a leader in some of these areas, but is rapidly losing ground. China has made considerable technological progress over the past two decades, as evidenced by the increase in AI patent publications, gold medals at international scientific competitions such as the International Olympiad, and universities producing four times more STEM degrees than ours. The CCP has wisely bet that technological superiority equals global supremacy.

Our new arsenal of democracy must be built to surpass and surpass our global rivals economically and militarily.

The current semiconductor crisis, which has halted the production of the main national industries, is an illustrative example. America depends almost entirely on other nations for the high-tech computer chips that power our smart phones, automobiles, appliances, and military platforms. US semiconductor production, which once accounted for almost 40% of global supply, has fallen to just 12%, while China’s has risen from 4% to 9% in five years. The vast majority of chips, however, are produced in Taiwan.that the CCP covets.

This is a very real economic and national security vulnerability. Rising prices caused by chip shortages are hurting Americans’ wallets and economies, but 90% of the chips used in our military technology are made overseas.

If we want to lead the world, we must lead the world in 21st century technologies.

Last year, the Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a law that I co-authored with Sen. Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.). The bill would increase U.S. research and development in domestic semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, cybersecurity, and hypersonic technology, and create technology hubs across the country.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese government lobbied against this bipartisan bill. The CCP does not want this to become law.

The House and Senate are currently working on a final version of the legislation, which my colleagues believe should resemble the strongly bipartisan approach of the Senate. President Joe Biden has signaled his willingness to sign it once it arrives on his desk.

This is a call to action for those of us who are tasked with keeping the American people safe. Previous generations have answered that call, and if we fail to do so at the critical moment, America will relinquish its position as world leader.

Young is the senior senator from Indiana and serves on the foreign relations and trade committees.