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House Intelligence Committee Report Recommends Reforms for Intelligence Agencies To Keep Pace on Research and Development, and Scientific and Technological Research

Washington, DC – Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a report prepared by its Strategic Technologies and Advanced Research (STAR) Subcommittee and Subcommittee Chairman Jim Himes (D-CT) to strengthen and empower the Intelligence Community’s (IC) scientific and technological research and development activities (S&T R&D). The report was voice voted out of Committee.

The United States faces aggressive challenges to its historical leadership in science and technology, and the IC finds itself increasingly reliant on external partnerships to maintain a technological edge. The report builds upon existing provides a series of recommendations aimed at preserving the historical advantage of the United States and enhancing the agility and openness of the U.S. Intelligence Community as it pursues scientific and technological research and development.

“In order to maintain dominance in technological advancement in the intelligence field and beyond, we need to leverage our greatest strengths as a nation,” said Subcommittee Chairman Jim Himes. “There is no country on Earth that has more raw talent and entrepreneurial spirit across the private and public sectors than the United States. If we can make the investment now to harness that quintessentially American, innovative energy, and nurture it an open and agile environment, we will continue to lead. But there’s no time to lose as our adversaries are nipping at our heels.”

This subcommittee has conducted hearings, oversight and briefings to guide the findings and recommendations in this report for more than a year under Chairman Himes’ leadership, and the Committee adopted the recommendations into the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA). The recommendations focus holistically on funding; partnerships and relationships; workforce development; and norms and standards.

In its report, the STAR Subcommittee recommended numerous changes, including:

  • Reopen the Office of Technical Assessment in the House of Representatives;
  • Build and improve relationships based upon mutual trust between the IC and the private sector;
  • Conduct a pilot of the IC’s Public-Private Talent Exchange;
  • Engage with educators to ensure U.S. academic institutions can teach the workforce of the future;
  • Leverage and nurture existing collaborations with the federal labs; and
  • Mandate the IC’s prioritization of R&D needs, centralize oversight and decision-making responsibilities for R&D, and regularly update Congress on its progress toward those priorities.

In the report, the STAR Subcommittee also recommends a number of areas for further study, including:

  • The creation of a fellowship program akin to the Presidential Management Fellowship that is oriented towards recent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) discipline graduates;
  • The IC’s relationships with the federal labs and foreign partners to enhance collaboration on S&T R&D;
  • The IC’s hiring authorities and engaging Congress as to whether further authorities are warranted to enable the IC to expand its STEM workforce; and
  • The IC’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and identification of positions that can be performed outside of secure facilities.

“Taken together, the threats facing our country – from an ascendant China and intractable Russia, to climate change and pandemics, to new disputes in space and cyberspace – are daunting, and require the Intelligence Community to be forward-thinking and pragmatic,” said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. “That’s why it’s absolutely critical that the IC develop common solutions rooted in technology and innovation. By making the right investments today – in people, programs and partnerships – we will strengthen our future security. I want to congratulate Chairman Himes and the STAR Subcommittee for their work on this subject of great strategic importance, and I look forward to working with Jim and the entire Intelligence Community to implement the report’s recommendations.”

To read the full report, click here.


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