Friday, July 8, 2011

HR 2219 Floor Consideration – Wednesday 7-6-11

Over the last two days the House has been spending considerable time working on the DOD spending bill, HR 2219. The late hours that the House has been keeping on this bill have been delaying the publication of the Congressional Record so I’m about a day behind looking at the progress of the bill for effects on homeland security issues.

Wednesday – Action on Amendments

In Wednesday’s session only one amendment concerning homeland security issues was considered. The amendment by Rep. Clarke (D, MI) that I discussed in an earlier blog transferring DOD funds to DHS was brought up on the floor by Mr. Clarke. As I predicted a point of order was raised against this amendment because of the rule against transferring money to or from the funds designated as being for spending on the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). No effort was made to overturn the Chair’s upholding of the point of order.

Wednesday – New Homeland Security Amendments

House members are encouraged to publish their intended amendments to this bill in the Congressional Record, allowing advanced review of the amendments by staff so that Members can make a more informed vote when the amendment is actually submitted on the floor. Wednesday’s Congressional Record contained a number of new amendments; two of which may be of interest of to the homeland security community and one of those is actually cyber security related.

First the cyber security amendment; Rep. Lipinski (D, IL) published amendment #91 that adds a new section to the bill that would read:

“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Department of Defense to replace an information technology system that stores classified information in the United States with an information technology system that stores such classified information outside the United States.”
I’m not sure what this means unless there is some plan currently under consideration that would use a server farm outside of the US to replace an aging facility in the United States (one would expect in Illinois). From a security perspective the physical location of a server farm is really only of concern because of physical security issues. One would assume that DOD would do as good a job of providing physical security for facilities overseas as they would here in the States. I would expect that the most likely location for an overseas server farm would be at the US facility in Diego Garcia and I doubt that you could get a more secure physical location; not much in the way of commercial travel to that island facility.

The other homeland security related amendment was amendment #76 submitted by Rep. Shuler (D, NC) which would also add a new section to HR 2219 that would read:

“None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to restrict cooperation between employees of the Department of Defense and employees of the Department of Homeland Security.”
This is another one of those vague amendments that makes little or no sense on first reading; in this case on second and third reading as well. How could one vote against such a ‘motherhood and apple pie’ amendment?

If or when these amendments are actually offered on the floor we may get additional information when the member uses their allotted 5 minutes of discussion to urge a positive vote on the amendment.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */