On Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee held a full markup hearing on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 and voted to approve amendments to include a Department of Defense strategy to leverage artificial intelligence supported robotics, extend dual-use technology programs, and increase recruitment of science and engineering professionals to the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC).

The draft of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., outlines a $733 billion budget which is $17 billion less than the Senate version of the budget. The amendments to artificial intelligence and recruitment of more tech-focused employees was met with minimal debate or discussion.

The reduction in the bill from what the Senate and the administration have proposed resulted in Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., saying that they $17 billion cut would result in “significant carnage,” but not before beginning his statement by quoting Charles Dickens into the record.

Opening lines from a Tale of Two Cities by Rep. Wittman aside, Rep. Smith argued that the $733 billion included in the proposed budget had undergone strategic analysis and that adding more would result in inefficient funding and therefore be wasted.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.