The Security Industry Association (SIA) has voiced its support for two pieces of legislation that are currently making their way through Congress, and offered some feedback for lawmakers who are trying to reconcile the two similar acts. Both the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and the America COMPETES Act boast bipartisan support, and are intended to ensure that US companies remain competitive in an increasingly crowded technology marketplace.
In that regard, the SIA applauded Congress’ attempts to protect the US supply chain, and to provide funding and institutional support for various forms of development. To that end, USICA frees up $190 billion for federal R&D projects, and another $29 billion for the National Science Foundation. The bill also encourages additional investment in R&D and education activities.
The COMPETES Act, on the other hand, sets aside $45 billion for grants and loans that can be issued to manufacturers that produce goods that are integral to the supply chain. The bill would establish a new Office of Manufacturing Security and Resilience to help manage and distribute those funds on behalf of the US Department of Commerce.
USICA similarly calls for the creation of a new International Technology Partnership Office that would facilitate cooperation between the government and technology stakeholders. The Office would identify key research and development priorities, and help government regulators communicate with various US partners. The SIA noted that biometric and cybersecurity technologies should be top concerns under the proposed regime, and praised the COMPETES Act sections that reauthorize the NIST’s biometric testing mandate.
As far as recommendations are concerned, the SIA went on to encourage Congress to support diversity initiatives, and to protect the US semiconductor industry. On the former front, the SIA believes that the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (which calls for the government to engage with historically Black colleges and universities) will create a stronger and more diverse talent pool for US manufacturers. The CHIPS for America Act, meanwhile, provides funding for semiconductor initiatives and should foster a more resilient US economy that is not as dependent on international chip availability.
The Senate and the House of Representatives are planning to discuss the reconciliation of the two bills at an upcoming conference. The SIA has repeatedly argued that biometric technology should be an integral component of the modern economy, though it has published privacy guidelines to ensure that modalities like facial recognition are used in an ethical fashion.
Source: Security Systems News
April 14, 2022 – by Eric Weiss