House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced the Republican conferees to the House-Senate Conference Committee to resolve bicameral differences in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) has been named as the conferee from the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

The legislation that passed the House includes the Committee’s National Artificial Intelligence Initiative to strengthen and coordinate AI development in the U.S. It also includes an amendment by Rep. Garcia to create a Center for AI within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to better coordinate efforts across NOAA and improve our capacity for environmental observation, wildfire prediction, and weather forecasting.

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Science Committee congratulated Garcia on his appointment. “The NDAA is critical legislation to support our military, our defense readiness, and our national security. As a retired Naval Officer and a business executive, Rep. Garcia understands that keeping America safe requires us to stay at the forefront of technological development. In particular, he appreciates that strategically accelerating AI is crucial for our national defense and international competitiveness. I’m glad Rep. Garcia will bring his expertise and commitment to research and development as he represents our Committee as an NDAA conferee.”

“It is a great honor to represent the Science, Space, and Technology (SST) Committee in the bipartisan NDAA conference,” Garcia said. “The bill invests in America’s military families, readiness and modernization. I’m particularly pleased SST priorities are represented in the bill including my amendment to create a dedicated center for Artificial Intelligence at NOAA, helping detect and prevent wildfires.”

Leader McCarthy praised the conferees when he announced them. “Each person selected today to serve on this committee has been a tireless advocate for our nation’s military both throughout their Congressional careers and before their time in Congress. As either a private citizen, member of the military reserves, or as active duty military, these members have proven themselves to be true patriots. This important committee is charged with getting our national defense policy signed into law to ensure that the Department of Defense has the resources and authorities needed to defend the United States and our national security interests. I am confident that these House Republicans will help bring both chambers of Congress together to produce a bill worthy of that mission. These men and women understand how pivotal this legislation is to keeping America safe, building and maintaining strong relationships with our allies, and promoting peace around the world — I am proud to have such qualified individuals providing their leadership toward this incredible task.”