Scott unveils bipartisan HBCU National Security Innovation Act

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would connect students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with national security and innovation programs in America’s defense industry and private sector.

“This bill will not only open doors to new opportunities for diverse students, but it will also allow the Department of Defense to tap into a deeper talent pool than ever before, bolstering our national security for years to come,” Sen. Scott said on Monday. 

The senator on Nov. 18 introduced the bipartisan HBCU National Security Innovation Act of 2021, S. 3234, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) to provide outreach and assistance to HBCUs regarding Defense Innovation Unit programs, according to the text of the bill.

The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering may establish activities, including outreach and technical assistance, to better connect [HBCUs] and minority-serving institutions to the programs of the Defense Innovation Unit and its associated programs, the text says. 

“As technology continues to advance, our nation faces unprecedented threats that will require new skills and innovation,” said Sen. Scott, co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional HBCU caucus. “That’s why I am proud to work to build an enduring connection between historically black colleges and universities and the Department of Defense.”

The introduction of S. 3234 continues Sen. Scott’s efforts to support and improve the nation’s HBCUs. For instance, in May, the senator introduced the bipartisan Institutional Grants for New Infrastructure, Technology, and Education (IGNITE) for HBCU Excellence Act, S. 1945, to provide for the long-term improvement of HBCUs.

In August, Sen. Scott also introduced Senate Resolution 352, which would designate the week of Sept. 6, 2021, as “National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week.”