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Advancing America's Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3834, Advancing America's NITRD Act of 2012.

I would like to thank Chairman Hall and Ranking Member Johnson for their important work on this bipartisan legislation. It's been nearly 3 years since we last reauthorized and updated the NITRD Program. I was a cosponsor of that bill in 2009, and while the Senate never acted on it, I'm hopeful that this will be a first step in taking action this year.

The NITRD Program evolved from the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991, which funded the development of Mosaic, the first commercial Web browser, which made the Internet user friendly and facilitated the cyber-revolution in the 1990s. This innovation was created by a team of programmers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois. Marc Andreessen, one of the lead programmers on this project and founder of Netscape, summed up the importance of Federal investment in this research saying: ``If it had been left to private industry, it wouldn't have happened, at least, not until years later.''

Innovative breakthroughs like the Mosaic Web browser changed their everyday lives and established the United States as a world leader in networking and information technologies. But today we find ourselves in a world in which we can no longer take U.S. supremacy for granted. We must make measured choices to prioritize cutting-edge, large-scale R&D and effective technology transfer policies to focus on the most advanced areas of network and information technology.

H.R. 3834 achieves these ends through the development of a coordinated Federal R&D investment strategy. This bill requires Federal agencies and the NSTC to develop 5-year plans specifying near- and long-term objectives and to assess and evaluate progress periodically to ensure we maintain U.S. leadership in these fields.

In order to guarantee groundbreaking advancements, the strategic plans will be required to encourage innovative and high-risk research projects that address long-term challenges of national importance. The increasingly complex challenges we face require sophisticated solutions that will draw not just on expertise from across economic fields, but across the public and private sectors as well. This legislation encourages collaboration among universities, industries, nonprofit research institutions, and Federal laboratories to tackle our biggest challenges and provides impetus needed to spur research on high-risk areas that might otherwise not be taken up.

We also need to be cognizant of how the R&D we fund will actually impact and benefit our economy and our society. While basic research is critical, the effective transfer of the results of research into products, companies, and jobs is necessary for our Nation to remain a leader in networking and information technology. This bill promotes effective technology transfer policies by requiring strategic plans and large-scale research projects to incorporate plans and policies that promote commercialization.

It is vital that we get our scientific development out of the lab and into the marketplace. We've put a lot of investment into our labs. We need to make sure that this provides the economic engine of growth for our Nation.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation will focus our scientific community through innovative, large-scale, and collaborative R&D. We need to remain a leader in networking in information technologies. This is a good bipartisan bill, and I urge my colleagues to support it.


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