US Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, have introduced the bipartisan Global Catastrophic Risk Mitigation Act to ensure that the United States government is better prepared for high-consequence events by establishing an interagency committee for risk assessment that would report on the adequacy of continuity of operations (COOP) and continuity of government (COG) plans for each risk identified.
The bipartisan legislation will also help counter the risk of artificial intelligence (AI), and other emerging technologies from being abused in ways that may pose catastrophic risks. It will also ensure that plans are in place for new strains of disease, biotechnology accidents, or naturally occurring risks such as super volcanoes or solar flares that though unlikely to occur, the consequences of an occurrence would be ‘exceptionally lethal’.
“The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that there are deadly risks over the horizon for which we are not prepared,” said Senator Portman. “Whether it is new strains of disease or runaway uses of emerging technology like artificial intelligence, some of these risks may be catastrophic to our country. This bipartisan legislation will help ensure the federal government prepares and plans for these low probability, yet high impact risks effectively.”
“Making sure our country is able to function during catastrophic events will improve national security, and help make sure people … across the country who are affected by these incidents get the help they need from the federal government,” said Senator Peters. “Though these threats may be unlikely, they are also hard to foresee, and this bipartisan bill will help ensure our nation is prepared to address cataclysmic incidents before it’s too late.”