Last month, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2021. House Armed Services Committee and China Task Force members supported many key bipartisan provisions in the NDAA to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s global malign activities.

China Task Force
5 min readAug 12, 2020

The FY 2021 House NDAA carried numerous provisions relevant to all five of the China Task Force’s Pillar subject areas, including:

Pillar One: national security

  • Lays the foundation for an Indo-Pacific Initiative, similar to one initially proposed by Ranking Member Thornberry, to enhance the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region, with at least $3.5 billion going to the Indo-Pacific Command.
  • Provides robust support of U.S. equipment and training to build the capacity of allies and partners to defend themselves against Chinese aggression, improve interoperability with the United States, inculcate American values, advance U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, and promote the United States as the partner of choice.
  • Requires the President to produce a whole-of-government strategy to impose costs on and achieve deterrence toward China for cyber-enabled corporate espionage and personal data theft.
  • Requires all federal researchers to disclose outside sources of support, including foreign grant support and income and lays out penalties for willful failure to disclose.
  • Includes language to ban federal procurement, as well as grants/loans to local law enforcement, to purchase Chinese made DJI drones.
  • Directs FFRDC study on China’s defense industrial base vulnerabilities and potential U.S. points of leverage.
  • Strengthens requirement from FY20 NDAA mandating a public list (with a classified annex, as necessary) of Chinese academic institutions with a history of improper technology transfer.
  • Requires public reporting of Chinese Military Companies Operating in the United States, including a list of each entity determined to be directly or indirectly owned, controlled, or beneficially owned by the People’s Liberation Army, or a military-civil fusion contributor to the Chinese defense industrial base.

Pillar Two: Technology

  • Provides a variety of federal incentives to enable advanced research and development, to secure the supply chain with domestic fabrication, and to ensure long-term national security and economic competitiveness of the advanced semiconductor industry.
  • Creates a national initiative on AI to ensure the U.S. leads the world in the development and use of trustworthy AI systems by accelerating and coordinating Federal investments at DOE, NSF, NIST and other federal agencies, and by facilitating new public-private partnerships in research, standards, and education in artificial intelligence.
  • Requires an analysis of any existing barriers within our Federal regulatory regime to manufacturing Defense Department drugs, vaccines, biological products and critical supplies in the United States and whether the raw materials necessary to make these items can be found in the United States, and that the Defense Secretary identify any potential partner countries that the United States can work with to realign our manufacturing capabilities for drugs, biological products, vaccines, and critical medical supplies.
  • Requires the Defense Secretary to obtain more information from industry and greater visibility into our pharmaceutical supply chain.
  • Mandates a GAO review of ZTE compliance with its settlement agreement with the Department of Commerce for violating sanctions stemming from its conspiracy to use U.S. hardware to operate a telecommunications network in Iran — a violation of the U.S. trade embargo with Iran.

Pillar Three: Economics and Energy

  • Requires the National Security Strategy to include the provision of drugs, biologics, vaccines, and critical medical equipment (including PPE). Also requires a report on the vulnerabilities to the medicine supply chain of the United States from foreign nations like China.
  • Takes steps to pursue China’s graduation from World Bank assistance and requires the U.S. Governor of the World Bank to report to Congress on U.S. efforts to secure China’s graduation.
  • Directs the U.S. Governor for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to seek China’s graduation from the program.
  • Requires the Department of the Treasury to report to Congress on debt transparency and debt management assistance efforts in relation to credit provided by China to other countries, through China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Establishes a United States policy at the international financial institutions (IFIs) to pursue greater transparency with respect to the terms and conditions of financing by the People’s Republic of China to IFI member countries. Requires the Secretary of the Treasury to submit to Congress progress reports on advancing this policy at the IFIs.
  • Reduces our nation’s reliance on China for critical rare earth materials and boosts domestic production.
  • Delists any company from any U.S. stock exchange that does not conform to SEC inspection requirements for three or more years, which many China and Hong Kong-registered companies refuse.
  • Imposes robust export control policy requirements on the Commerce Department to address China’s surveillance regime being used to target, track, and persecute Uighurs in Xinjiang.
  • Directs the U.S. representative at the international financial institutions (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc.) to support non-discrimination for Taiwan nationals seeking employment at the institutions.

Pillar Four: Competitiveness

  • Establishes limitations of funds to institutions of higher education with Confucius Institutes unless the institution imposes provisions to protect academic freedom, prohibits the application of any foreign law on any campus of the institution, and grants full managerial authority of the Confucius Institute to the institution.
  • Requires Institutions of Higher Education to disclose appropriate information on individuals participating in defense funded basic research and requires any individual applying for federal research grants or funds to disclose all sources of foreign funding.
  • Requires DOD to develop and maintain a list of foreign talent recruitment programs that post a threat to U.S. national security and share that list with research institutions and researchers.

Pillar Five: Ideological Competition

  • Bolsters U.S. efforts to respond to oppressive censorship and internet restriction worldwide by reforming and improving the Open Technology Fund (OTF) as an independent grantee within the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to report on the activities of China’s United Front Work and the extent to which these activities pose a threat to U.S. national security and national defense.
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to issue rules to require each company that produces or imports manufactured goods sold in the military commissary and exchange systems to file an annual report with the Secretary to disclose whether any goods were imported or manufactured in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
  • Directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to commission an independent study on how to improve U.S. government and industry engagement in international standards bodies.
  • Incorporates most of the Taiwan Defense Act to outline military requirements and any capability gaps required to defend Taiwan against a PLA fait accompli.
  • Requires the State Department’s Annual Report on Human Rights Practices to recognize unreasonable or oppressive government surveillance as a human rights abuse.



China Task Force

The China Task force, chaired by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), will develop legislative solutions to address the Chinese Communist Party’s malign global activity.