Armed Services Committees Leadership Announces Selections for National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology

The bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), and Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today announced their appointments to the National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology, which was established by Sec. 1091 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22).

The National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology will conduct a thorough review of how advances in emerging biotechnology and related technologies will shape current and future activities of the Department of Defense, provide an interim report to the President of the United States and the Armed Services Committees within one year, and submit a final unclassified report within two years to the President and the committees, including recommendations for action by Congress and the federal government.

Twelve appointed members will make up the Commission, including two members appointed by the HASC Chairman, one Member of the House and one not; two members appointed by the HASC Ranking Member, one Member of the House and one not; two members appointed by the SASC Chairman, one Member of the Senate and one not; two members appointed by the SASC Ranking Member, one Member of the Senate and one not; and one member each appointed by the Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, and Senate Minority Leader, respectively.

The leaders of the Armed Services Committees named the following appointees:

Chairman Reed selected:

Senator Alex Padilla is the first Latino to represent California in the U.S. Senate. He was appointed in January 2021 to complete the Senate term of Vice President Kamala Harris. The son of immigrants, Padilla grew up in the San Fernando Valley and studied Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was drawn to politics in response to California’s anti-immigrant Proposition 187. Padilla was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1999 and the State Senate in 2006. As California’s Secretary of State, he oversaw a historic expansion of voting rights and voter participation. Padilla serves as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety. He is a member of the Senate Committees on Budget; Environment and Public Works; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Judiciary; and Rules. Padilla lives in the San Fernando Valley with his wife, Angela, and their three sons, Roman, Alex and Diego.

The Honorable Dov S. Zakheim is Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Senior Fellow at the CNA Corporation. Previously he was Senior Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton where he led the firm’s support of U.S. Combatant Commanders worldwide. From 2001 to April 2004 he was Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Defense. From 2002-2004 Dr. Zakheim was DOD’s coordinator of civilian programs in Afghanistan. From 1987 to 2001 he was both corporate vice president of System Planning Corporation and chief executive officer of its international subsidiary. From 1985 until 1987 Dr. Zakheim was Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Planning and Resources. Dr. Zakheim currently serves on numerous government, corporate, non-profit and charitable boards and lectures and provides media commentary on national security issues domestically and internationally. He is a 1970 graduate of Columbia University with a B.A., summa cum laude; studied at the London School of Economics; holds a doctorate in economics and politics at St. Antony's College, University of Oxford; and has been an adjunct professor at several universities including the National War College, Columbia University and Yeshiva University. 

Chairman Smith selected: 

Congressman Ro Khanna represents California’s 17th Congressional District, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, and is serving in his third term. Rep. Khanna sits on the House Armed Services, Agriculture and Oversight and Reform committees, where he chairs the Environmental Subcommittee. Additionally, Rep. Khanna is the Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, serves as an Assistant Whip for the Democratic Caucus, and is the Democratic Vice Chair of the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans. Rep. Khanna is committed to representing the people and ideas rooted in Silicon Valley to the nation and throughout the world.

Paul Arcangeli will be retiring from the House Armed Services committee on April 1st after 18 years with the committee, most recently serving as staff director. He has served in a variety of roles with the committee since 2004, including as deputy staff director, minority staff director, and staff lead for the Subcommittee on Readiness. Prior to joining the Committee, he served as the Director of the Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Training Center at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. Previously, he served as executive vice president for a company conducting innovative research in fuel, emissions, and environmental technologies. In 1999, he retired from the U.S. Army after serving as an explosive ordnance officer, as a maintenance officer, and as the Chief of the Information Technology Projects Division at the United States Military Academy, West Point. He holds a Master of Science in information technology from the Naval Post Graduate School and a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of North Georgia.

Ranking Member Inhofe selected:

U.S. Senator Todd Young is the senior United States Senator from Indiana, a seat to which he was first elected in 2016 after serving three terms representing the Ninth Congressional District of Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives. Through Sen. Young’s work on the Endless Frontier Act, his service on the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce Committee, and in his military service, he has lived at the intersection of emerging technology and geopolitical challenges for years. As a Marine, fresh out of from the Naval Academy, he served in one of the first units utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles — revolutionary technology at that time that has become relatively commonplace today.

Dr. Alexander Titus is a Product Strategy & Operations Lead at Google Research where he focuses on driving alignment between research priorities and Google’s product priorities. Before Google, Dr. Titus was the first Assistant Director for Biotechnology within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering, where he was the technical and oversight lead for all relevant research and engineering matters across the biotechnology portfolio. Dr. Titus holds a Ph.D. in Quantitative Biomedical Sciences from the Guarini School of Graduate & Advanced Studies at Dartmouth College, where his work focused on cancer biology and artificial intelligence/machine learning applications in biology. He also holds a dual BS/BA in biochemistry and biology from the University of Puget Sound.

Ranking Member Rogers selected:

U.S. Representative Stephanie Bice represents the Fifth Congressional District of Oklahoma. Prior to her election to Congress, Bice served in the Oklahoma State Senate for six years. Before her public service, Bice worked in the private sector for eight years in financial oversight, business strategy and marketing for her family's technology company. In addition, she ran her own marketing company, and later helped lead a boutique digital marketing agency as vice president of business development. Rep. Bice is President of the Freshman Class and serves on the Cybersecurity and Military Personnel Subcommittees on the House Armed Services Committee.

Jason Kelly, Ph.D. is the co-founder and CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks. Ginkgo is a synthetic biology company headquartered in Boston, MA that programs cells for customers in the chemical, pharmaceutical, food and energy industries. Prior to Ginkgo, Jason received B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biology and a PhD in Biological Engineering all from MIT.

Click here to read the full text of Sec. 1091 in S. 1605, the FY22 NDAA.

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