Thursday, September 14, 2017

S 1761 Introduced – FY 2018 Intel Authorization

Last month Sen. Burr (R,NC) introduced S 1761, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. This bill is the Senate counterpart of HR 3180 that was passed in the House on 7-28-17.

While a good portion of the bill is not publicly available (classified) there are a number of provisions that may be of specific interest to readers of this blog. In addition to Title V (Securing Energy Infrastructure), those sections include:

Sec. 604. Reports on the vulnerabilities equities policy and process of the Federal Government.
Sec. 605. Bug bounty programs.
Sec. 606. Report on cyber-attacks by foreign governments against United States election infrastructure.
Sec. 610. Limitation relating to establishment or support of cyber security unit with the Government of Russia.
Sec. 613. Notification of an active measures campaign.

Securing Energy Infrastructure

Title V is very closely patterned on S 79 of the same title. There are only three significant additions to the language of S 79 found in Title V:

• Adding a definition of the term ‘Director’ as the Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence of the Department of Energy {§502(2)};
• Adding an interim 180-day report to Congress {§505(a)}; and
• Adding a definition of the term ‘appropriate committees of Congress’ as the intel committees, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee {§505(c)}.

Joint Cybersecurity Unit

Section 610 is similar in intent to the three bills introduced to date (S 1544, HR 3191 and HR 3259)  that would prohibit funding for the establishment of a joint cybersecurity unit with elements of the Russian government. There is, however, a significant difference in the implementation of the restriction.

Section 610(a) would require the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report to Congress before and such unit is established. The report would include:

• The purpose of the agreement;
• The nature of any intelligence to be shared pursuant to the agreement;
• The expected value to national security resulting from the implementation of the agreement; and
• Such counterintelligence concerns associated with the agreement as the Director may have and such measures as the Director expects to be taken to mitigate such concerns.

Moving Forward

The Senate Intelligence Committee held a mark-up hearing on July 27th, 2017 and they approved the current version of the bill. A committee report was published on September 7th, 2017. The bill will be considered by the Senate at some point in the not too distant future as this is one of the ‘must pass bills’ that each house must consider. A bill will eventually pass, though not necessarily this bill, and it would then be reconciled with the House bill in a conference committee.

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