U.S. Congressman Anthony Gonzalez’s (R-OH) legislation to combat academic espionage at institutions of higher education is set to be signed into law Friday as part of the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. Congressman Gonzalez first introduced the Securing American Science and Technology Act (SASTA) alongside Rep. Mikie Sherril (D-NJ) and Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) in May of this year.
“Academic espionage is a real threat we are experiencing at universities in Ohio and across the country.” said Congressman Gonzalez. “I am thrilled to see my legislation included in the final version of the fiscal year 2020 NDAA to secure our cutting-edge research from nations we know are actively working to steal it, like China and Russia.”
“Ohio State strongly supports the Securing American Science and Technology Act (SASTA), and we are pleased that it is included in the final FY20 National Defense Authorization Act. We’re grateful for Representative Gonzalez’s leadership on this important national security initiative that will contribute to a stronger working relationship between federal agencies and higher education,” said Dr. Morley Stone, Senior Vice President for Research at The Ohio State University.
SASTA works to address academic espionage at U.S. colleges and universities by promoting the standardization of federal agency approaches to academic espionage while maintaining collaboration and a welcoming environment for foreign talent at our academic institutions. Universities throughout the state of Ohio are on the cutting edge of innovation and advancement, which has made their research programs a top target for nations like China, who are actively stealing intellectual property and world-renowned research and development. SASTA works to secure this ground-breaking and sometimes sensitive research by establishing an interagency working group of science, intelligence and security agencies to evaluate existing mechanisms of control for federally funded research and develop a policy framework to address the security needs of agencies and grant recipients. It also facilitates an ongoing dialogue among federal science and security agencies and academia to share best practices on protecting this important research and keeping our universities safe.