Rep. Crawford Introduces Legislation to Create an Intelligence Office in USDA
Today, Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01) along with Reps. Rick Allen, Don Bacon, Jim Baird, Troy Balderson, Chris Jacobs, Trent Kelly, Elise Stefanik, Chris Stewart, Mike Turner, and Brad Wenstrup introduced H.R. 1625, the Agricultural Intelligence Measures (AIM) Act. This legislation would establish an Office of Intelligence within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to leverage the capabilities of the intelligence community to ensure the Secretary of Agriculture is fully informed of all imminent threats and American agriculture is safe from all threats both foreign and domestic. This highly specialized office would work to understand any efforts to steal U.S. agriculture knowledge and technology and to develop or implement biological warfare attacks, cyber or clandestine operations, or other means of sabotaging and disrupting the agriculture industry.
“Because of the hard work of our farmers and researchers, Americans enjoy the most dependable food system in the world,” said Rep. Crawford. “However, the complex supply chain and invaluable nature of the agriculture industry means it is particularly vulnerable. Over the last year, we’ve all seen the chaos that can come from a single pathogen or uncertainty in the grocery store aisles. Agriculture security is national security, and the AIM Act is a critical first step to safer food, safer farms, and a safer future.”
“One of my priorities in the 117th Congress is to ensure the protection of intellectual property in all sectors of the U.S. economy, including our agriculture industry. We have seen foreign actors steal American intellectual property, and this legislation will strengthen our agriculture security by protecting America’s ag knowledge and technology,” said Rep. Allen.
“American agricultural innovation is allowing for higher yields, increased quality and efficiency, and growing in new climates. But this innovation comes with increased threats from foreign adversaries like China,” Rep. Jacobs said. “Protecting American agriculture from sabotage, intellectual property theft, and biological threats is a national security issue. We have seen firsthand over the last year how important a secure and reliable food supply chain is to our economy and health. The office created by this legislation is a critical step in detecting vulnerabilities and threats to ensure the strength and security of American agriculture and our food supply.”
“In the North Country, we are especially fortunate to have safe and reliable access to an abundant food supply thanks to our farmers and agribusinesses, but the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taught us that the supply chain is vulnerable and must be protected. I am proud to cosponsor this legislation to encourage interagency coordination and protect our farms, food, and industry from threats both foreign and domestic,” said Rep. Stefanik.
“Protecting American farmers and our food supply is a top national security concern. This bill removes the barriers between the intelligence community and the Department of Agriculture to protect against sabotage and disruption within our supply chain,” said Rep. Stewart.
“The Secretary of Agriculture must be prepared to overcome domestic or foreign threats to our agriculture systems, including any efforts by foreign governments to steal U.S. agriculture and technology or target our food supply by producing a pathogenic threat,” said Rep. Turner. “I am pleased to be an original cosponsor of The Agricultural Intelligence Measures (AIM) Act, which would help safeguard our agriculture industry by establishing an office to notify the Secretary of Agriculture on serious potential threats. Having served as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as a representative for hardworking Ohio farmers, I know that this legislation will take a critical step to protect our farmers, our food supply, and our nation.”
“Securing our nation’s food system is a critical component of our nation’s overall security. This legislation would bolster our efforts to protect our agricultural security, prevent foreign efforts to steal U.S. intellectual property and innovation, and secure the overall health and safety of the American people,” said Rep. Wenstrup.