Blackburn, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve AI Testing and Evaluation Systems

November 3, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), John Thune (R-S.D.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the Testing and Evaluation Systems for Trusted Artificial Intelligence (TEST) AI Act to improve the federal government’s capacity to test and evaluate Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. This bill will drive innovation, protect national security and safeguard Americans against risks.

“The potential for AI to transform our society and economy is becoming clearer every day. DOE, our National Laboratories, and NIST have pushed the boundaries of scientific discovery, technological advancement, and responsible AI application. We need to ensure that as AI systems evolve, these teams are working together to improve the trustworthiness of AI systems used by federal agencies and to advance AI workforce needs. I look forward to strengthening this partnership through the TEST AI Act,” said Senator Blackburn.

“AI has the potential to revolutionize our research and innovation across a myriad of industries; however, it also attracts malevolent actors who aim to exploit its capabilities, posing substantial threats to privacy and national security,” said Senator Risch. “The Idaho National Laboratory is already a leader in national security and cybersecurity, and the TEST AI Act will rightly use the National Labs capabilities to establish safeguards and systems to prevent misuse of this growing technology.”

“AI is a transformative technology that has the potential to improve health care, agriculture, logistics and supply chains, and countless other industries,” said Senator Thune. “While an increasing number of products and services begin to utilize and navigate AI technology, this bill would help bolster AI capabilities and tools.”

“The use of Artificial Intelligence has reached every sector – ranging from medicine, to financial institutions, to governments and businesses. But our country cannot ignore the vulnerabilities and risks that come with it. While these systems have the power to change lives, they can also fall short by providing inaccurate or biased data, and are at risk of malicious attacks or misuse by our adversaries,” said Senator Luján. “The TEST AI Act addresses these shortcomings by developing government testbeds for testing and evaluation of AI systems. This will help harness the talent of our National Laboratories to boost our federal capacity to implement responsible guardrails that protect our national security, ensuring this technology is not misused or manipulated.”

“Artificial intelligence is here, and it is changing the way we approach our world.  It holds enormous positive potential, but like with any new technology, AI must be tested thoroughly to ensure it is used responsibly,” said Senator Durbin. “With the TEST AI Act, we can direct the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop AI testbeds, allowing us to safely explore the boundaries of AI, outline necessary oversight, and protect against the misuse of this technology.”


  1. The TEST AI Act directs NIST to coordinate, through a memorandum of understanding, with DOE toestablish testbeds for testing and evaluation of trusted AI systems to advance AI tools, capabilities, and workforce needs; improve reliability and trustworthiness of commercial and federal AI systems; and establish testbeds, including classified testbeds as necessary, to support safeguards and systems to test, evaluate, and prevent misuse of AI systems.
  1. Earlier this year, Senators Blackburn, Risch, Luján, and Durbin launched the Senate National Labs Caucus to identify legislative opportunities that elevate the Labs’ visibility and meet national energy and security objectives. This caucus also helps identify bipartisan initiatives to maintain and extend U.S. leadership in critical scientific sectors.