Friday, February 15, 2019

S 245 Introduced – FY 2019 Intel Authorization

Last month Sen. Burr (R,NC) introduced S 245, the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. Intel authorization bills were introduced last session (HR 6237 and S 3153), but only the House bill received any action; it passed by a vote of 363 to 54. No action was taken in the Senate on either bill.

Cybersecurity Provisions

There are a number of cybersecurity related provisions in this bill, but only one of potential specific interest to the industrial control system community. The cybersecurity sections of note include:

§303. Modification of special pay authority for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics positions and addition of special pay authority for cyber positions.
§307. Consideration of adversarial telecommunications and cybersecurity infrastructure when sharing intelligence with foreign governments and entities.
§308. Cyber protection support for the personnel of the intelligence community in positions highly vulnerable to cyber attack.
§309. Modification of authority relating to management of supply-chain risk.
§422. Establishment of Energy Infrastructure Security Center.
§701. Limitation relating to establishment or support of cybersecurity unit with the Russian Federation.


The potentially interesting ICS provision is, of course, §422 establishing the EISC. A nearly identical provision (different section/paragraph numbers is the only difference) was included in HR 6237. I covered that issue in my post on the introduction of the earlier bill.

Missing Provision

Last year Burr’s authorization bill included a section on energy sector cybersecurity. This was taken almost in whole cloth from last session’s S 79. A bill similar to S 79 was introduced earlier this session; S 174. It is not clear if Burr left this out because he felt that S 174 had a good chance to pass on its own (not likely in my opinion) or whether he got push-back from including the costly provisions in last year’s intel bill.

Moving Forward

Burr’s bill will move forward in Committee, he is after all the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Getting it to the floor of the Senate may prove to be a bigger problem; he has not had an intel authorization bill on the floor since the FY 2017 bill passed.


This used to be considered one of the ‘must pass’ annual authorization bills, but since Trump came to town that does not seem to be the case. Spending bills continue to be approved, but the general Congressional oversight provided through the authorization bills seems to be less important as the community status has waned under Trump. This is doubly unfortunate given the cybersecurity troubles being seen in the world.

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