WASHINGTON, DC—Rep. Darin LaHood sent a letter to US Senate Leadership today urging the chamber to take up and pass H.R. 5312 – the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Modernization Act of 2016. H.R. 5312, introduced by Rep. LaHood, passed the House on June 13 with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote of 385-7.
“With the continued cybersecurity threats our country faces, I am urging the Senate to take up and swiftly pass my legislation that garnered such bipartisan support in the US House of Representatives,” stated Rep. LaHood. “The NITRD Program has not been updated since the 1990s. This bill will modernize Federal research and development in information technologies so advancements made can better transform how the government and private companies, such as Caterpillar, learn, conduct business, and maintain a strong national security apparatus. The legislation will also improve communication between Federal and private partnerships—such as ones already established at the University of Illinois, Caterpillar, and Western Illinois University. Time is of the essence and I hope to see action before the end of the year.”
The NITRD Program has a history of significant impact in Central Illinois through its work with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Among many accomplishments, the NCSA’s Blue Waters Supercomputer has had a standing partnership with Caterpillar since the 1990s which has led to advantageous product development and digital simulation of future product designs. H.R. 5312 updates the program by establishing a strategic planning, coordination, and review process with targeted metrics, by focusing the program on long-term and large scale research with the potential for significant breakthroughs that will increase U.S. competiveness, and by improving collaboration between federal agencies, national laboratories, private industry, and academia like Western Illinois University in Macomb.
Research conducted under the NITRD Program has also led to computational decoding of the human genome, modeling and simulation power grids, pharmaceuticals, and even the development of devices for assisted living. In the cybersecurity space, the NITRD Program focuses on prevention, resistance, detection, and response before, during, and after cyber-attacks, which have become all too common.