Future of Defense Task Force Releases Final Report


Date: Sept. 29, 2020
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Defense

Today the bipartisan Future of Defense Task Force released their final report, findings, and recommendations, following a months-long review of U.S. defense assets and capabilities. Co-Chaired by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) and Jim Banks (R-Ind), the Task Force included Representatives Susan Davis (D-Calif), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) and Michael Waltz (R-Fla.). The Task Force was chartered to complete this review and assess the state of the national security innovation base to meet emerging threats.

To fulfill their mandate, the Task Force describes the battlefield of the future and anticipates what capabilities the United States must have to remain competitive. The Task Force analyzes America's current resources and posture, our future needs, and makes recommendations on how to bridge the gap from current capabilities to future requirements.

"America needs a plan to confront the dual threats of Russia's aggression and China's rise. This is it. For the first time, there is agreement among both parties in Congress about the path forward, we can take it no matter the outcome of the November election," Congressman Moulton said. "If we fail to act on this plan, the world order will shift from one that favors democracy to one that favors authoritarianism. I will do all I can to make the recommendations in this report reality."

"The significance of this report is in its name. This report details a vision of the future of defense--specifically a smart, whole-of-nation strategy addressing the rise of China--and I will be dedicating the rest of my career on the House Armed Services Committee to making sure it comes to fruition," said Congressman Banks. "The Department of Defense needs to innovate to ensure the United States maintains its global military supremacy, and this report is the roadmap to do it."

The Task Force's work was robust, and the findings and recommendations are extensive. Notably, the final report:
Suggests strategies to win the artificial intelligence and biotechnology race;
Calls for an evaluation of the effects of emerging technology integrations into the existing defense apparatus;
Urges the government to leverage the innovation base;
Underscores the need for strengthened partnership and alliances;
Calls for the creation of additional pathways for STEM talent to enter the Department of Defense workforce; and
Suggests strengthening the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) to include industries related to AI, quantum computing, sensing, autonomy, space, and robotics.

"We are grateful to Chairmen Moulton and Banks and all of our committee colleagues for the effort and serious thought they put into this report," said Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee. "The recommendations they have put forward are necessarily wide ranging, in part because America's vulnerabilities, challenges, and even the way we define national security in the future is going to be much broader than we understand it today. Their recommendations will have to be carefully examined, but they have advanced an important conversation and given Congress a foundation for policymaking going forward."