WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) praised the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for passing the bipartisan Modernization Centers of Excellence Program Act to accelerate the adoption of the latest technologies by government agencies. This legislation expands upon Senator Portman’s bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Government Act which codifies an AI Center of Excellence (CoE) within the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide technical expertise to relevant government agencies; advises agencies on the procurement of AI technology; and promote U.S. competitiveness through agency and industry cooperation. Inspired by Senator Portman’s legislation, GSA created the AI CoE last year. The Modernization Centers of Excellence Program Act lays out the responsibilities that all of GSA’s CoEs should have and harmonizes their roles to strengthen the government’s technology expertise beyond just AI.
“I applaud the committee passage of this bipartisan legislation because as technology continues to change and advance, it’s important that the federal government understands the significant impacts it will have on our country, economy, and society,” said Senator Portman, Co-Chair of the Senate AI Caucus. “Ensuring that our government has the capabilities and expertise to help navigate the impacts of the latest technology will be important in the coming years and decades. This bipartisan legislation will ensure our government agencies have the insight and resources they need to better understand the benefits and pitfalls of this technology and I urge my colleagues to support this legislation when it comes to a vote on the Senate floor.”
“America’s private sector is at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement – and we should foster that same culture of innovation within the federal government,” Senator Hassan said. “I am pleased that the Committee passed our bipartisan bill to help federal agencies build relationships with the private sector to modernize their old systems and become more efficient. I will continue working with Senator Portman to move this common-sense legislation forward and help bring the federal government into the 21st century.”
NOTE: As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus, Portman has helped lead efforts in the Senate on this issue, and has worked in a bipartisan manner on several key measures to set high-quality standards around emerging technology, including cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.