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The National AI Research Resource and the CREATE AI Act — AI: The Washington Report

Welcome to this week’s issue of AI: The Washington Report, a joint undertaking of Mintz and its government affairs affiliate, ML Strategies.

The accelerating advances in artificial intelligence (“AI”) and the practical, legal, and policy issues AI creates have exponentially increased the federal government’s interest in AI and its implications. In these weekly reports, we hope to keep our clients and friends abreast of that Washington-focused set of potential legislative, executive, and regulatory activities.

In this issue, we discuss Representative Anna Eshoo’s (D-CA-16) Creating Resources for Every American To Experiment with Artificial Intelligence Act (“CREATE AI Act”), and the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (“NAIRR”) that this bill would establish. Our key takeaways are:

  1. To boost the global competitiveness of the United States in the field of AI R&D, a group of legislators led by Rep. Eshoo have called for the establishment of the NAIRR.
  2. The NAIRR would provide computational resources to researchers and students in order to facilitate AI R&D and workforce development in the United States.
  3. Prominent academics, regulators, and members of industry have expressed their support for the CREATE AI Act. If passed, the CREATE AI Act would culminate a multi-year effort to establish the NAIRR.

For over three years, a number of legislators, academics, and members of industry have been pushing for the creation of a National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (“NAIRR”), a government body that would distribute computational and training resources related to AI in order to spur innovation and increase US global competitiveness. On July 28, 2023, members of the Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus introduced a bill that would create the NAIRR. As this body moves ever closer to establishment, this week we will provide a brief summary of the multi-year effort to establish the NAIRR, and detail the body’s proposed responsibilities.


Establishing the NAIRR Task Force

By the second half of the Trump administration, executive branch officials began to place renewed emphasis on the need for the federal government to make substantial investments in AI R&D. In 2018, an Air Force general warned that strategic competitors including the People’s Republic of China may soon outspend the United States in AI R&D. As detailed in a previous edition of this newsletter, 2019 saw the release of the Trump White House’s update to the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan. Affirming the Obama White House’s call for greater federal investment in AI R&D, the Trump update asserted that, “the Federal Government must continue to foster long-term, fundamental research in ML and AI.”

These developments made clear to certain lawmakers the need to establish federal bodies to facilitate and administer government investments in AI R&D. One such bill responding to this need was Representative Anna Eshoo’s (D-CA-16) National AI Research Resource Task Force Act, introduced in June 2020. This act aimed to establish a task force (“NAIRR Task Force” or “Task Force”) within the National Science Foundation (“NSF”) to “investigate the feasibility and advisability of establishing a national artificial intelligence research resource” and “propose a roadmap detailing how such resource should be established and sustained.”

The Task Force, made up of representatives from the federal government, institutions of higher education, and the private sector, would consult with a diverse array of stakeholders to formulate a proposal for the NAIRR. First, the Task Force would release an initial report detailing their tentative proposals for the body. After a period of further consultation, the Task Force would then release a final report including their full proposal for the establishment of the NAIRR.

Along with a slate of other AI bills being considered by the 116th Congress, National AI Research Resource Task Force Act was folded into the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act, which itself was included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 (“FY 2021 NDAA”). With the FY 2021 NDAA becoming law on January 1, 2021, the NAIRR Task Force could come into being.

Reports of the NAIRR Task Force

With Congressional approval now secured, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (“OSTP”) and NSF formally launched the NAIRR Task Force in June 2021. Following a series of public meetings, engagements with experts, and a public request for information, the NAIRR Task Force released its interim report in May 2022. In this interim report, the NAIRR Task Force outlined a vision of the NAIRR as, “a shared research cyberinfrastructure connecting researchers to the resources and tools that fuel AI R&D.”

As a body tasked with promoting American AI R&D, the NAIRR would have to facilitate access to resources for trusted entities, while restricting access to potentially harmful actors. As such, the Task Force proposed that users accessing NAIRR’s computational resources should be “required to pass a research proposal evaluation process” to ensure proper vetting. Users would also be required to complete training “commensurate with the nature of [their] NAIRR usage.”

Following a further round of meetings and consultations, the NAIRR Task Force released its final report in January 2023. While details surrounding the responsibilities and functions of the NAIRR largely carried over from the interim report, the final report put a greater focus on the question of implementation.

In their final report, the Task Force enunciated a “cooperative stewardship model, whereby a single Federal agency serves as the administrative home for NAIRR operations and a Steering Committee comprising principals from Federal agencies with equities in AI research drives the strategic direction of the NAIRR.” As an appropriate administrative home for the NAIRR, the Task Force recommended the NSF. The final report envisioned a four year timeline in which Congress establishes the NAIRR by year one, NAIRR builds organizational capacity and begins to operate by the end of year three, and is carrying out normal operations by year four.

To fund this body, the Task Force recommended that Congress appropriate $2.6 billion over the first six years of the NAIRR’s existence. For this substantial investment, the Task Force promises great results, asserting that the NAIRR “would transform the U.S. national AI research ecosystem and facilitate the ability to address societal-level problems by strengthening and democratizing participation in foundational, use-inspired, and translational AI R&D in the United States.”

Open Letter in Support of Establishing NAIRR

The work of the NAIRR Task Force coincided with the release of ChatGPT in November 2022 and the ongoing wave of interest, excitement, and concern surrounding AI’s rapid development that has followed. These developments have added a new sense of urgency to the issue of AI governance, especially in light of the progress made in jurisdictions such as the European Union and the People’s Republic of China in establishing AI regulation.

In this context, a group of leading AI companies and research institutions sent an open letter to Congressional leadership on July 19, 2023 urging the institution of the NAIRR as outlined in the Task Force’s final report. Representatives from top research institutions including Yale, Princeton, and Stanford, as well as technology companies including Microsoft, IBM, and Google endorsed the recommendations included in the Task Force’s final report and urged Congress to “pass legislation now that would establish the NAIRR and provide the necessary investments in the program.”

Signatories stated their belief that by providing computational resources to AI researchers, developers, and students, the NAIRR “will ensure that a diverse range of perspectives are shared within AI research and, importantly, provide the training needed to develop and cultivate the AI workforce of the future.”


On July 28, 2023, just days after the open letter in support of establishing the NAIRR was sent, Rep. Anna Eshoo and other members of the Congressional AI Caucus introduced the Creating Resources for Every American To Experiment with Artificial Intelligence Act (“CREATE AI Act”). Affirming the recommendations set forth in the Task Force’s final report, the CREATE AI Act would establish the NAIRR, which will be “overseen by NSF through a program management office.”

In the form outlined in the CREATE AI Act, the NAIRR would have four primary goals.

  1. Support innovation and the development of trustworthy AI R&D.
  2. Facilitate access to AI resources for researchers and students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.
  3. Grow the capacity for AI research in the United States.
  4. Encourage the benchmarking, testing, and evaluation of AI systems developed and deployed in the United States.

To execute these functions, the NAIRR would provide four primary types of resources.

  1. Computational resources, including AI models.
  2. Data, including curated datasets.
  3. Educational materials, training, and user support.
  4. Testbeds, or platforms researchers can use to test their AI models.

Under the terms of the CREATE AI Act, NAIRR resources would be available to any “researcher, educator, or student based in the United States that is affiliated with” an institution of higher education, a nonprofit institution, an executive agency, a federally funded research and development center, a small business concern, or any other entity approved by the Directors of the NSF and the OSTP.

Conclusion: NAIRR in the 118th Congress?

Following the announcement of the CREATE AI Act, key stakeholders, including former members of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, the director of the NSF, prominent academics, and corporate leaders have come out in support of Rep. Eshoo’s bill. Given the broad support for the proposal, and the bipartisan and bicameral nature of the legislation, those interested in the course of domestic AI regulation should be aware of the CREATE AI Act. It is conceivable that this proposal, like its predecessor the National AI Research Resource Task Force Act, will be folded into an omnibus AI bill.

As this and other proposals on AI regulation proceed through Congress, we will continue to monitor, analyze, and issue reports.


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Bruce D. Sokler

Member / Co-chair, Antitrust Practice

Bruce D. Sokler is a Mintz antitrust attorney. His antitrust experience includes litigation, class actions, government merger reviews and investigations, and cartel-related issues. Bruce focuses on the health care, communications, and retail industries, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies.

Alexander Hecht

ML Strategies - Executive Vice President & Director of Operations

Alexander Hecht is Executive Vice President & Director of Operations of ML Strategies, Washington, DC. He's an attorney with over a decade of senior-level experience in Congress and trade associations. Alex helps clients with regulatory and legislative issues, including health care and technology.

Christian Tamotsu Fjeld

Senior Vice President

Christian Tamotsu Fjeld is a Vice President of ML Strategies in the firm’s Washington, DC office. He assists a variety of clients in their interactions with the federal government.

Raj Gambhir

Raj Gambhir is a Project Analyst in the firm’s Washington DC office.