Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

U.S. must win the race against China and Europe on quantum computing

2018/07/26

For the last several decades, America's lead in cutting-edge technology has helped propel our economy and national security. America is now in a race with China and Europe to develop the next technological breakthroughs based on the power of quantum science. It's a race we must win.

We have introduced the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018 to help align and accelerate public and private research and development of quantum science. Like earlier national endeavors involving space and nuclear energy, the race to quantum computing has immense economic and national security implications for the U.S.

The tiny, tiny universe of quantum physics — atoms, protons, electrons, photons — looms very, very large in our future.

Quantum science explores and exploits subtle aspects of quantum physics, such as the idea that subatomic particles can exist in many possible states at the same time, known as "quantum superposition." This will lead to valuable, real-world applications.

For example, conventional computing uses a series of tiny, electronic on-off switches within a processing chip. Technological advances have made possible supercomputers that can perform a series of on-off operations at astonishing speeds. But classical computing technology is nearing its limits.

Quantum computing, however, is different. Rather than a series of ultra-high speed on-off switches, quantum computers rely on "qbits." These are subatomic particles that are both on and off at the same time.

This property and other quantum phenomena will enable quantum computers to perform complex calculations at speeds that are potentially millions of times faster than today's most advanced supercomputers.

Fully functioning quantum computers may be 10 years or more away. But the new industries and new jobs this technology will create are just over the horizon. Quantum computing promises drastic improvements in the security of data and electronic communications, precise long-range weather forecasts, and the development of new medicines and materials.

Applications of this technology will have a profound impact on communication security, navigation, imaging, and many other technologies that are not otherwise possible with conventional hardware.

Despite these potential benefits, however, falling behind in the race for quantum technology would have sobering national security implications. The nation that harnesses quantum communications technology first may be able to decode — in a matter of seconds — every other nations' most sensitive encrypted national security information as well as proprietary technologies and even the personal information of individuals.

In testimony before Congress, expert witnesses have warned that as other nations around the world rapidly advance their own quantum programs, the U.S. faces a real threat of falling behind.

China and the European Union are investing billions of dollars in new research facilities and equipment for quantum efforts. China, in particular, has stated publicly its national goal of surpassing the U.S. during the next decade.

That is why our nation must devise a national quantum strategy and preserve America's lead in the race to this technology.

The National Quantum Initiative Act meets challenges by creating a 10-year program to advance quantum development and technology applications in the U.S. The bill is designed to put to use the expertise and resources of U.S. industry, academia and government to move quantum information science to the next level of research and development.

The legislation establishes a National Quantum Coordination Office and codifies an interagency Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to oversee interagency coordination, provide strategic planning support, serve as a central point of contact for research, and promote commercialization of federal research by the private sector.

The bill also supports basic research, education and standards development in multiple federal agencies. These activities will address fundamental research gaps, create a stronger workforce, and develop ways to give U.S. companies and workers an enduring competitive advantage.

This bill will ensure that ongoing federal, academic, and private sector research work together to win the scientific race of the 21st century.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, is chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Sen. John Thune, R-N.D., is chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

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Human exploration and the International Space Station and can work in tandem

2018/07/24

For almost two decades, humanity has maintained a presence on the International Space Station. Barely 100 years after the first 12-second airplane flight, humans are now living in space. The U.S. government is now debating the fate of the ISS, humanity’s sole outpost in space. The debate centers on a single question: whether the ISS should be extended beyond 2025 or whether its existence prevents funding for human exploration of the moon, Mars and beyond. The problem is that it’s not an either-or proposition. We do a disservice to ourselves and to future generations when we force a false choice between the ISS and further space exploration.

The ISS science laboratory’s objective is discovery; it has conducted more than 2,400 research investigations. Studying the effect of zero gravity on living organisms has improved laser eye surgery, increased the effectiveness of vaccines, and helped cancer research.

Human space exploration should go far beyond the ISS. Scientists and engineers think that it may be possible to make rocket fuel and water from materials on the Moon’s surface. A series of robotic missions to Mars have come closer to finding signs of life on another world. But exploring other worlds with robots is slow and difficult; if we want to step up our game and make profound discoveries the time has come to send people to the moon, Mars, and beyond.

This commitment to exploration involves difficult choices. As ISS funding comes under review, we will need to balance these two priorities: a presence in low-earth orbit on the ISS and human exploration of space. Some pundits reduce the debate to false choices: Either NASA continues spending billions of dollars a year on the ISS or the space station must be decommissioned. Either we commit to extending NASA spending on the ISS to 2028 or we don’t extend it at all. Either NASA keeps the ISS operating or NASA finally returns to the moon.

The result of this simplistic debate is that the future of the ISS is being determined by a cosmic game of chicken. The Trump administration proposes ending direct NASA spending on ISS operations by 2025 in order to free up resources needed for a return to the moon. The administration is not proposing to end the ISS or America’s presence in low-earth orbit. Instead, the administration wants to find innovative ways to reduce the costs of both keeping a presence in low-earth orbit and sending humans back to the moon, permitting America to do both.

Not only is this possible, it’s likely. The United States should operate the ISS for as long as it continues to meet our needs. We can decommission the ISS when there is a newer, more affordable platform to take its place. Industry confidence in the future of the ISS will boost confidence in value of human presence in low-Earth orbit and usher in the opportunity for private partnerships to share in the investment. As commercial industry enters the field, the competition helps drive down costs on the ISS, in turn freeing up funding for lunar exploration.

That’s why fighting about all-or-nothing funding is shortsighted. It threatens the goal of obtaining the best use possible of our investment in space. By forcing a choice between the ISS and human space exploration, it sends a signal to every scientist, entrepreneur, and engineer working on the station: we’re willing to gamble with the future of America’s presence in space.

Instead, let’s examine how we can increase commercial demand for the ISS and discover new efficiencies and ways to reduce operational costs. Let’s forge new partnerships with our commercial and international partners. Let’s not limit ourselves to a false choice. Let’s find ways to maintain America’s presence in low-earth orbit while committing to human space exploration.

After all, ours is a nation of pioneers and innovators. NASA has a proud tradition of space exploration and with our support they can lead us to the moon, Mars, and beyond.

Lamar Smith represents the 21st Congressional District of Texas and serves as the chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

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Goodlatte, Peterson, Smith, Cuellar, Newhouse, Conaway, Calvert Introduce the Bipartisan AG and Legal Workforce Act

2018/07/18

Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Representatives Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Michael Conaway (R-Texas), and Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) today introduced the bipartisan AG and Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 6417). Representatives Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chair of the House Freedom Caucus, Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chair of the Republican Study Committee, and John Katko (R-N.Y.), chair of the Tuesday Group, are also original cosponsors.
 
The AG and Legal Workforce Act replaces the outdated and broken H-2A agricultural guestworker program with a new, workable agricultural guestworker program, known as the H-2C program, to ensure America’s farmers and ranchers have access to a reliable workforce. The H-2C program is available to both seasonal and year-round agricultural employers, provides a generous visa allocation to ensure labor needs are met, provides much needed flexibility to minimize disruptions in farm operations, eliminates regulatory burdens, and contains effective accountability and enforcement provisions. These provisions are supported by over 200 agricultural groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation. 
 
The AG and Legal Workforce Act also requires all U.S. employers to use E-Verify, an effective web-based program that protects jobs for legal workers. The bill repeals the error-prone, paper-based I-9 system and replaces it with E-Verify. It contains a gradual phase-in for employers—starting with the largest employers first and eventually phasing in small businesses and agricultural employers.
 
Below are statements on the introduction of the AG and Legal Workforce Act.
 
Chairman Goodlatte: “The AG and Legal Workforce Act addresses two of the most pressing issues facing our immigration system: illegal immigration and the need for a workable agricultural guestworker program for America’s farmers and ranchers. To address illegal immigration, the bill gradually rolls out E-Verify nation-wide to ensure jobs are protected for legal workers. E-Verify – a user-friendly, web-based program that quickly confirms 99% of work-eligible employees –  takes less than two minutes to use and is an effective tool to combat illegal immigration. 
 
“Importantly, the AG and Legal Workforce Act also creates a new, workable agricultural guestworker program to ensure labor demands are met and crops get to market on time. The bill incorporates many of the comments and concerns I have heard from the agriculture community over the past several years. When not enough Americans can be found to fill jobs, the bill ensures that American farmers have access to a reliable workforce to fill positions needed to keep their farms afloat. The agricultural community has waited far too long for a workable guestworker program and it’s past time to enact a solution.”
 
Congressman Peterson: “Farmers and ranchers across the country have repeatedly told us of their need for a reliable workforce. This will help to move that process forward and address an issue that is long overdue.”
 
Congressman Smith: “Expanding the E-Verify system accomplishes two goals: it protects jobs for American workers and reduces illegal immigration by cutting off the jobs magnet. Requiring all U.S. employers to check the work authorization of new employees ensures that the jobs only go to Americans and legal workers. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 82% of voters favor requiring business owners to check the immigration status of employees they hire. E-Verify receives the most public support of any proposed immigration reform.”
 
Congressman Cuellar: “The Ag and Legal Workforce Act will help us meet important goals and offers vast improvements over the existing H-2A program. This bill will help address the shortage of workers that the agricultural industry has been experiencing over the years by ensuring that there is a steady flow of labor. It will also allow experienced agricultural workers who are currently undocumented in the U.S. to join and participate in the H-2C program and work here legally. I respectfully ask for bipartisan support and urge swift passage of the Ag and Legal Workforce Act for America’s hardworking agricultural producers and farm workers.”
 
Congressman Newhouse: “The current labor shortage facing farmers must be improved by fixing the legal guest worker program. Farmers and our rural economy are being harmed by the current bureaucratic system that is not even available to all of agriculture. In order to continue domestic production of our own safe and affordable food in the U.S., Congress must pass legislation to reform our guest worker program and provide a stable, legal workforce for agriculture. I applaud the Speaker and Majority Leader for their commitment to bring this to the floor.”
 
Congressman Conaway: “We need an ag worker program that respects our nation’s immigration laws and keeps American agriculture competitive. This bill takes important steps to cut red tape and institutes a flexible program that accounts for the different labor needs of various producers. Chairman Goodlatte has been very responsive to the concerns of the ag community, and I look forwarding to working with him to help shepherd this legislation through the House.”
 
Congressman Calvert: “I commend Chairman Goodlatte and Representative Lamar Smith for their dedication and hard work on one of the toughest issues our Conference, and the Congress, faces: illegal immigration.  The bill introduced today takes a monumental step towards ending the incentive that brings people here illegally: mandating the use of E-Verify.  However, we need to be realistic about the labor needs of the agricultural industry and that is why this bill includes a workable guest labor program.  I am grateful to the Chairman for the additional modifications that have gone even farther to accommodate agricultural labor needs.  The time to act is now and I look forward to supporting this bill on the Floor.”
 
Additional original cosponsors of the bill are: Representatives Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), James Comer (R-Ky.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), John Curtis (R-Utah), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), Ron Estes (R-Kan.), John Faso (R-N.Y.), Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), David Rouzer (R-N.C.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.).
 
A summary of key provisions of the AG and Legal Workforce Act can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE.


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Smith, Williams, McCaul, and Carter Announce Austin as Army Futures Command Site

2018/07/13

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen Lamar Smith (TX-21), Roger Williams (TX-25), Michael McCaul (TX-10) and John Carter (TX-31) announced that the U.S. Army selected Austin, Texas as the site for its Futures Command Center.

Last month, members of the Texas Delegation sent a letter to U.S. Army Secretary Mark Esper in support of the Austin Mega Region as the future basing location for the next Army Futures Command.

“This is tremendous news for central Texas. The Army Futures Command will bring hundreds of jobs to the Austin area. With its excellent academic institutions and established technology sector, Austin will be of great help to the Command,” said Rep. Smith. “I look forward to Texas playing an even greater role in securing our country by welcoming this newest defense center.”

 “This is great news for the State of Texas and the United States. Austin is the fastest growing city in the nation, and I cannot think of a location more fit to serve as the modernization and innovation hub for the United States Army. It creates a unique synergy between the military, academia and industry partners, unified in their goal to provide soldiers with the weapons and equipment that they need to fight and win,” said Rep. Williams. “As a resident and the representative of Austin, I welcome the Army Futures Command, and look forward to working with them to ensure the Army remains the best trained and equipped fighting force in the world.”

“I cannot think of a better place for the Army Futures Command Center to be located.  Austin, my hometown, is a booming tech-hub with close ties to the U.S. Armed Forces.  We already host some of the U.S. military’s newest innovative research and development investments, including the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, the Army Research Lab South, and the Air Force’s ‘AFWERXs.’ I know this addition will serve as great help to the Command,” Rep. McCaul said. While it will provide more jobs for TX-10, our innovative environment will also ensure our nation maintains the best of the best in our military. As the proud son of a WWII B-17 bombardier, I look forward to continuing to support this new defense center.”

“I’m proud to have secured the last bit of funding necessary, with the help of Defense Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger, to make Austin the new home of Futures Command,” Rep. Carter said. “As the command tasked with spearheading Army modernization projects and preparing for future conflict, the new Futures Command will serve a critical role in strengthening the security of our country and will be an economic driver for the Central Texas region. This major investment in Central Texas will also immediately bring 500 new jobs, and further strengthen Central Texas’ economy. Central Texas is one of the fastest growing regions in the nation, with outstanding universities, affordable housing, and a commitment to America’s military that can’t be matched. I expect to see many of these new Texas residents plant their roots right here in Texas’ 31st Congressional District and we welcome them with open arms.”

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Rep. Lamar Smith: Scripture Opposes Amnesty

2018/07/11

American politicians, religious leaders, and lay citizens have offered comment on the connection between biblical teachings and immigration issues.

Many have used their interpretation of the Bible to endorse open borders and amnesty for illegal immigrants in the country. There is just one problem that plagues these claims: The Bible contains numerous passages that do not support amnesty and instead support the rule of law.

The Scriptures clearly indicate that God charges civil authorities with preserving order, protecting citizens, and punishing wrongdoers. A prime passage is Romans 13:1-7: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” Neither God nor the Bible ever rewards lawlessness (1 Timothy 1: 8-10).

Consider Leviticus 19:33-34, frequently cited by amnesty advocates: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Mass-immigration and amnesty advocates claim that these passages mandate that a society welcome any and all foreigners. But such passages do not mean that foreigners should disregard civil laws to enter illegally or that we should overlook it when they do. The law God laid down for Israel allowed legal distinctions to be drawn between natives and non-natives.

Also, the Hebrew term for “sojourn,” as well as the dictionary definition, means “temporary stay.” A related term used in some scriptural translations is “stranger.” So this passage offers no scriptural sanction for allowing millions of illegal immigrants to remain permanently in the United States. In the New Testament, the word “stranger” denotes one who is simply unknown (The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible), not someone who is a foreigner.

Related to the Leviticus citation is the passage about treatment of “the least of these my brothers” – the hungry, the naked, the stranger, the prisoner. This quote from Matthew 25: 31-46 plainly is based on individual acts of kindness and does not mandate a public policy. A note in the New Interpreter’s Bible says, “… it is the individual human beings, not nations as corporate political structures, that stand before the judgment.”

Finally, Bible passages support borderd (Exodus 19:12), boundaries (Deuteronomy 32:8; Proverbs 22:28), standards (Numbers 2:17), and order (Isaiah 9:7). Borders and boundaries are consistent and important principles throughout the Bible, being mentioned some 200 times in one context or another. This suggests little biblical support for anyone’s claim to have a “right” to live somewhere illegally.

Americans need not apologize for wanting to uphold the rule of law. We have every right to be a sovereign nation. Our nation has a wonderful tradition of welcoming newcomers. Furthermore, we admit more than one million legal immigrants a year, far more than any other country.

There is a difference, though, between those who play by the rules and come in the right way and those who don’t. And the Bible’s commentary on strangers and foreigners makes that clear.

Congressman Smith represents the 21st District of Texas. He serves as chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee and is a former chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee. Rep. Smith founded the Border Security Caucus.

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Smith Statement on Nomination of Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

2018/07/09

Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States.  

Rep. Smith: “With his pick of Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump named a very qualified and distinguished jurist. I am optimistic that as a Supreme Court Associate Justice Kavanaugh would not legislate from the bench, would adhere to the Constitution and not let his political views influence his legal decisions. I hope my colleagues in the Senate will give Judge Kavanaugh fair consideration and confirm him quickly. ”

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Congress Has the Tool to Stop Illegal Immigration

2018/06/27

When Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, it was hailed as a victory for border security in exchange for an amnesty that addressed illegal immigration. For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress made it a federal crime to employ undocumented workers. At that time, everyone — Democrats and Republicans — believed that Congress had finally solved the problem of illegal immigration by cutting off the “jobs” magnet.

But much of the bill was never enforced, and 32 years later, it is clear that Congress must do more to protect American workers and to combat illegal immigration.

Instead of shutting off the jobs magnet, the 1986 amnesty encouraged more illegal immigration by incentivizing employment-document fraud and identity theft. To make matters worse, employers have very little ability to determine the validity of employment documents. If an employer suspects that a document is stolen or spoofed and refuses to hire someone, they face the prospect of lengthy and expensive discrimination lawsuits. Because of this combination of factors, the demand for unlawful employment remains. Today, the U.S. faces a crisis of epic proportions, with an estimated population of 11 million to 15 million undocumented immigrants.

There is a proven, cost-effective tool to help reduce unlawful employment and to remove future incentives for illegal immigration. That tool is E-Verify. E-Verify is a voluntary, quick and free workforce verification system provided by the federal government that instantly checks an individual’s employment eligibility. E-Verify is the most effective tool available to fight illegal immigration because it drastically reduces or eliminates the illegal jobs magnet.

recent study found that making E-Verify mandatory not only decreases unlawful immigration, but it also encourages current undocumented immigrants to return home. The study reviewed the Legal Arizona Workers Act, which requires every employer in that state to use E-Verify, and found that since the law was implemented in 2008, undocumented immigrants either moved to states without mandatory E-Verify or returned to their home countries. This study mirrors other research that demonstrates unlawful immigration fell by as much as 50 percent in a single year in states with mandatory E-Verify laws.

Given the clear impact E-Verify has on both future illegal immigration and the current undocumented population, we are disappointed that E-Verify has not been a priority in this year’s immigration debates. We both have long been proponents of requiring workforce verification nationally and we believe mandatory E-Verify should be part of any immigration solution.

E-Verify is supported by the vast majority of voters — 82 percent — and many businesses, particularly those that already follow the law and seek to employ a legal workforce, want to see it implemented. One-third of employers voluntarily use the E-Verify program and 1,500 more employers sign up for E-Verify each week.

We understand that requiring E-Verify presents challenges for some industries, particularly our nation’s agriculture sector. We are not unsympathetic to those challenges. However, in order for Congress to address broader legal workforce issues, the American people must first have trust in our nation’s lawful immigration system. The only way to do that is to stop illegal immigration. E-Verify does that, and it is a critical first and necessary step toward building that trust.

It is our sincere hope that the administration and congressional leaders will commit to making mandatory E-Verify part of any immigration reform proposal.

At a minimum, any reform legislation should contain a permanent authorization of the current voluntary verification program, incentives for employer participation, legal immunity for using the E-Verify system, and information sharing between the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. Those steps — while nowhere near as effective as mandatory E-Verify — are at least helpful improvements to the current system.

We look forward to the continued discussions surrounding immigration reform. And we hope that Congress will recognize the mistakes of 1986 and finally shut off the jobs magnet once and for all. The American people depend on us to restore integrity to our immigration system. We cannot fail them.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.  Both lawmakers have introduced legislation making E-Verify mandatory.

 

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Smith: Immigration bill means more amnesty and less enforcement

2018/06/27

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) today opposed the “compromise” Border Security and Immigration Reform Act. The bill was defeated by a vote of 121-301.

Rep. Smith: “This bill means more amnesty and less enforcement. It gives amnesty to millions and will lead to the widespread use of fraudulent documents to obtain amnesty. The bill also allows millions of illegal immigrants to stop their deportation simply by claiming they are eligible for amnesty.

“And there is no guarantee that any border structure will be built. It’s amnesty today and border security sometime in the future, if then.

“The bill also omits workforce verification, which is the most effective tool to fight illegal immigration and save jobs for American workers.”

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Rep. Smith Statement on SCOTUS Ruling on President’s Actions to Strengthen Vetting of Immigrants

2018/06/26

Washington, DC –  Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court upholding President Trump’s executive action that strengthened vetting of immigrants who come from countries that have been designated as a security threat.

Rep. Smith: “As the Supreme Court ruled, President Trump’s executive order is fully within the president’s power under our country’s immigration laws.

“He is lawfully protecting innocent Americans from those who enter the United States to do us harm. We ought to take every reasonable step possible to protect the American people from terrorism. Foreign nationals from countries that pose national security threats should not be admitted until they can be properly vetted by our national security agencies.” 

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Scholars or Spies?

2018/06/26

At a recent hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, on which we both serve, we heard disturbing news about foreign countries’ efforts to steal American technological secrets and scientific discoveries. Our country's workers and taxpayers pay the price when unfriendly nations gain competitive advantage by stealing our technology and innovations.

In March, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted nine Iranian hackers for breaking into American universities’ computer systems and stealing scientific information and intellectual property worth nearly $3.5 billion, including research paid for by taxpayers. According to the department officials, this brazen theft was part of a larger Iranian plot to hack into the computers of nearly 4,000 professors at 144 U.S. research universities.

China also has aggressively targeted research at U.S. academic institutions. An essential part of China’s plan to achieve global domination in vital areas of science and technology is theft: stealing technological secrets from American companies, hacking into sensitive computer systems and supporting their spies at our research universities.

In one noteworthy case, a former faculty member at New York University was employed by a pioneering MRI technology research project funded by the National Institutes of Health. This person concealed his affiliations with a Chinese-sponsored research institute. Then he colluded with a Chinese medical imaging company to patent and license the new MRI technology that was developed with NIH funds to the company for millions of dollars.

China also finances friendly-sounding organizations, like the China-United States Exchange Foundation. The foundation, however, is a registered agent of the Chinese government. Credit to the University of Texas at Austin, which recently rejected a big check from them. But other major U.S. institutions have taken the money, allowed the foundation to set up on their campuses and turned a blind eye to its efforts to abet scientific espionage.

The intelligence community has warned for years that foreign agents target American students and educators in priority areas of science. Unfriendly foreign nations’ “shopping lists” -- U.S. breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, medical science and national security -- and their criminal methods and subversive tactics are well-known. We should counter these threats.

Increased vigilance at our universities is our crucial first line of defense. Without stifling academic freedom, academic institutions must take steps to guard against thefts of sensitive information. Unfortunately, many institutional leaders have been reluctant to acknowledge real-world threats and unwilling to take needed actions to protect researchers’ work, universities’ scientific assets and taxpayers’ dollars.

Universities that receive billions of federal research dollars are legally responsible for protecting research assets: data, test results and intellectual property. Federal science agencies like the National Science Foundation, which awards $6 billion for research each year, have authority -- in fact, the duty -- to deny additional funding to universities and researchers that fail to take appropriate actions.

Research institutions that receive public funds should be required to comply with sensible security standards. Federal cybersecurity recommendations should be mandatory. University researchers and administration should be trained to recognize efforts to steal sensitive information. There must be more careful screening of those who apply to study in the United States.

Assistance from federal law enforcement is crucial, too. We were surprised to learn recently that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is disbanding the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board that allowed university leaders to consult directly with law enforcement officials. We subsequently joined other members of the House Science Committee in sending a letter to FBI director Christopher Wray asking why the FBI decided to suspend this advisory board.

Over the next few months, we will work with the university community, science agencies and federal law enforcement on solutions to keep the United States at the forefront of innovation and protect American funds and ingenuity.

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Contact Information

2409 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4236
Fax 202-225-8628
lamarsmith.house.gov

Lamar Smith represents the 21st Congressional District of Texas.

He serves as Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, which has jurisdiction over programs at NASA, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The Committee oversees agency budgets of $39 billion, where the primary focus is on research and development.

Congressman Smith continues to serve on both the Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee. He is a former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Ethics Committee.

In the last Congress, Congressman Smith was named Policymaker of the Year by POLITICO for his work on patent reform legislation.

A fifth generation Texan and native of San Antonio, Congressman Smith graduated from Yale University and Southern Methodist University School of Law. He and his wife, Beth, have an adult daughter and son.

The 21st Congressional District includes parts of Bexar, Travis, Comal and Hays Counties and all of Bandera, Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr and Real Counties. The district’s population is about 700,000.  Congressman Smith maintains district offices in San Antonio, Austin and Kerrville.


Serving With

Louie Gohmert

TEXAS' 1st DISTRICT

Ted Poe

TEXAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Sam Johnson

TEXAS' 3rd DISTRICT

John Ratcliffe

TEXAS' 4th DISTRICT

Jeb Hensarling

TEXAS' 5th DISTRICT

Joe Barton

TEXAS' 6th DISTRICT

John Culberson

TEXAS' 7th DISTRICT

Kevin Brady

TEXAS' 8th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Michael Conaway

TEXAS' 11th DISTRICT

Kay Granger

TEXAS' 12th DISTRICT

Mac Thornberry

TEXAS' 13th DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT

Bill Flores

TEXAS' 17th DISTRICT

Jodey Arrington

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Pete Olson

TEXAS' 22nd DISTRICT

Will Hurd

TEXAS' 23rd DISTRICT

Kenny Marchant

TEXAS' 24th DISTRICT

Roger Williams

TEXAS' 25th DISTRICT

Michael Burgess

TEXAS' 26th DISTRICT

John Carter

TEXAS' 31st DISTRICT

Pete Sessions

TEXAS' 32nd DISTRICT

Brian Babin

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

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