Protecting Innovation is a Matter of National Security

On Tuesday, the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees met to mark up and move forward versions of the “Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act” (FIRRMA). These two bills are aimed at reforming the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process and protecting U.S. technology. While this action isn’t making front page news, we are watching this process closely – because these issues have important impacts on our industry’s ability to compete globally and lead the world in innovation.

AIA and our members strongly support the aims of modernizing CFIUS and protecting national security interests related to investment in the United States. We welcome Congressional efforts to identify and regulate the transfer uncontrolled technologies that pose a threat to our national security and to protect the intellectual property that allows the United States to maintain technological advantages in support of U.S. foreign policy.

Importantly, both versions of the FIRMMA legislation provide for CFIUS assessment of the national security risks of inbound investments, while looking to export controls to address national security risks associated with outbound transactions. Dividing responsibility this way both strengthens national security protections and preserves U.S. innovation in aerospace and other industries. At the same time, both versions of the legislation recognize the value of existing bilateral national security information agreements and other strategic relationships.

If this legislation becomes law, the U.S. government will need to collaborate closely with industry during the regulatory drafting process and implementation. We stand ready to work with the government to develop a clear and concise framework for determining “emerging or foundational technologies” in order to avoid any potential adverse unintended consequences. It will be important for all of us to strike the right balance so that compliance standards are understood and not overly burdensome.