This Week in Washington IP: Supercharging Defense Innovation, Small Business Programs Review and Advancing Biomedical Sciences week in the Washington IP activities, House of Representatives committees will hold hearings focusing on the Department of Energy’s role in advancing biomedical sciences, kickstarting military defense innovation, promoting workers’ civil rights in the digital age and reviewing the SBIR and STTR small business innovation funding programs. On Thursday, other House committees will explore advances in carbon capture technology as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s use of facial recognition technologies. Elsewhere in D.C., the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will host FCC Chairman Ajit Pai as he announces the agency’s plans for a C-band spectrum auction to support the development of 5G mobile networks.

Wednesday, February 5 

House Future of Defense Task Force 

Supercharging the Innovation Base

At 8:00 AM on Wednesday in 2212 Rayburn House Office Building.

Last October, the Future of Defense Task Force was created as an entity within the House Armed Services Committee tasked with building the nation’s long-term military innovation strategy. The task force currently has a six-month charter which is scheduled to end in April of this year. The witness panel for this hearing will include the Honorable Eric Fanning, President and CEO, Aerospace Industries Association; Raj Shah, Chairman and Co-Founder,; and Chris Brose, Chief Strategy Officer, Anduril Industries.

House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies 

Oversight Hearing on DOE’s Role in Advancing Biomedical Sciences

At 10:30 AM on Wednesday in 2362-B Rayburn.

The 2020 budget appropriated to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) includes funding for a DOE Office of Science initiative based on a 2016 report issued by the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on Biomedical Sciences. The Office of Science is charged with developing a plan that reports on successful collaborations between the DOE and the National Institutes of Health as well as ways to improve those collaborations to advance biomedical sciences. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Mark Chance, Director of the Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics, School of Medicine, Case Western University; Dr. Narayanan “Bobby” Kasthuri, Neuroscientist, Argonne National Laboratory; and Dr. Harold Varmus, Lewis Thomas University Professor, Weill Cornell Medicine.

House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee 

The Future of Work: Protecting Workers’ Civil Rights in the Digital Age

At 2:00 PM on Wednesday in 2175 Rayburn.

The digital age and networking technologies continues to change the nature of work on a daily basis, often for the better by increasing productivity. However, many of the same privacy issues that face American consumers in the e-commerce marketplace also impact Americans in their place of work, especially in companies that have implemented surveillance technologies. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

House Subcommittee on Research and Technology

America’s Seed Fund: A Review of SBIR and STTR

At 2:00 PM on Wednesday in 2318 Rayburn.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are federally funded initiatives designed to support American research and development as well as the commercialization of technologies through tech acquisitions by federal agencies. In late January, the Department of the Navy’s SBIR and STTR offices announced an expanded $250 million funding opportunity for upgrading existing defense platforms. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Dawn Tilbury, Assistant Director, Directorate of Engineering, National Science Foundation; Dr. Maryanne Feldman, S.K. Heninger Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Department of Public Policy, and Adjunct Professor of Finance, Kenan-Flagler Business School, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Nicholas Cucinelli, CEO, Endectra LLC; and Dr. Johnny Park, CEO, Wabash Heartland Innovation Network.


Thursday, February 6 

House Subcommittee on Climate Change 

Clearing the Air: Legislation to Promote Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 2123 Rayburn.

Last February, Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA) introduced H.R. 1166, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act, into the House of Representatives. This bill, which is the focus of the House Climate Change Subcommittee’s hearing, would support research in direct air capture of carbon sources and work towards the development of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration technologies. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

House Committee on Homeland Security

About Face: Examining the Department of Homeland Security’s Use of Facial Recognition and Other Biometric Technologies, Part II

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 310 Cannon House Office Building.

The use of facial recognition by law enforcement agencies continues to engender controversy among privacy advocates and lawmakers alike, though the Department of Homeland Security continues to pursue the implementation of such technologies. In mid-January, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that it was introducing facial biometric technologies to streamline clearance procedures for low-risk travelers participating in the Global Entry program. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Charles Romine, Director of the Information Technology Laboratory, National Institutes of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce; John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Peter Mina, Deputy Officer for Programs and Compliance, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Department of Homeland Security.

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation 

FCC Chairman Pai to Announce C-Band Auction Plan for 5G

At 12:00 PM on Thursday at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, 700 K St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20001.

As the U.S. continues to shift towards the advent of 5G mobile networks, the C-band of spectrum that ranges from 3.7 gigahertz (GHz) up to 4.2 GHz has been the focus of government efforts to free up spectrum for next-generation uses. Much of the C-band is currently owned by satellite companies which have faced concerns about a low payday from any Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction for C-band frequencies. This ITIF event will feature a keynote address by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in which he’ll discuss the FCC’s plans to repurpose C-band spectrum to kickstart 5G development. The event will be moderated by Doug Brake, Director, Broadband and Spectrum Policy, ITIF.

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