Wicker Remarks at “Securing U.S. Leadership in Emerging Compute Technologies” Hearing

September 29, 2022

Click here to watch Senator Wicker’s opening statement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today delivered remarks at a full committee hearing titled, “Securing U.S. Leadership in Emerging Compute Technologies.” Senator Wicker discussed the impactful provisions in the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, which was recently signed into law, and the importance of American leadership in technology. 

Senator Wicker welcomed Mississippi residents Dr. Henry Jones, the Director of Research Development and Scientific Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern Mississippi, and Mr. Trey Breckenridge, the Director of High Performance Computing at Mississippi State University, as witnesses at today’s hearing. 


Remarks as delivered: 

Thank you, Madame Chair.  Of all the legislation that you and I have worked shoulder-to-shoulder on, I can’t think of anything more significant for the future of our country and not only our economy, but our national security, than the CHIPS and Science Act. So, thank you so much for being my partner in that regard and for persuading the House and Senate to include the very significant additions that we made. 

Today’s hearing on securing U.S. leadership in emerging technologies could not be more timely.  The recently enacted CHIPS and Science Act provided critical investments and policy tools to advance American innovation in key technologies, including, as the Chair said, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and blockchain.  The development of these emerging technologies is important but also poses important questions for policymakers involving security, privacy, and other impacts on society.  

Today’s witnesses play key roles in technology development and innovation. The Chair is proud of witnesses from the state of Washington, and I am similarly delighted that Dr. Henry Jones is here, the Director of Research Development and Scientific Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern Mississippi, and Mr. Trey Breckenridge, the Director of High Performance Computing at Mississippi State University.  I look forward to hearing their thoughts on spreading the “geography of innovation”. When it comes to innovation, one of the most significant provisions that we were able to add, Madame Chair, is to spread the geography and avoid overreliance on a handful of states and big universities. 

American leadership requires that we take advantage of the talent, expertise, and capabilities found throughout America.  In that vein, I would appreciate our witnesses’ perspectives on where the United States ranks regarding the development of these emerging technologies — particularly as compared to China — and what more should be done to secure a preeminent position.  China and other nations are increasingly dominant in technology innovation, posing a massive threat not only to our economy but also, as I said, our national security.  There is no more important competition than the one for technological supremacy between the United States and China.

Congress has recognized this fact and has taken the first step by passing the CHIPS and Science Act, which should position the United States to be a global leader once again.  This law establishes a new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships at the NSF to accelerate the process of translating basic research into technology development for commercial use and making America more competitive globally. 

Geographic diversity is vital to American innovation, and enlisting the talent and expertise of STEM researchers nationwide is an important priority in the CHIPS and Science Act.  The law guarantees that EPSCoR — a program designed to stimulate competitive research in 25 predominantly rural states — will receive 20 percent of all R&D funding from the NSF, up from the current 13 percent.  This will go a long way toward leveraging the whole of America’s technological expertise in this global contest.  

Make no mistake: ensuring that America leads the world in tech is good for our economy and national security and it is also good for the cause of freedom, stability, openness, and our democratic values around the world.  With the right vision and priorities, we in Congress can make sure the 21st century is another American century.

I look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses, and I thank the Chair.