Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Committee Adopts Rule for Consideration of HR 2500 – FY 2020 NDAA

Last night the House Rules Committee formulated the Rule for the consideration of HR 2500, the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It is a structured rule with 439 amendments that may be offered (with provisions for en bloc consideration of amendments. I will be watching five of those amendments. Consideration of the bill begins this afternoon.

The Five Amendments

These are the five amendments that I will be watching. These are the five that I briefly listed last week in my post about the report on HR 2500.

53. Aguilar (D,CA) #244 Expands the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program (formerly known as the Information Assurance Scholarship Program) to include students attending certificate programs that span 1 to 2 years.

158. Gallego (D,AZ) #415 Requires a report on the National Guard's capacity to meet Homeland Defense missions.

200. Jackson-Lee (D,TX) #160 (REVISED) Requires that a report from the Secretary of Defense 240 days after the date of the enactment to the congressional defense committees that accounts for all of the efforts, programs, initiatives, and investments of the Department of Defense to train elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students in fields related to cybersecurity, cyber defense, and cyber operations.

363. Speier (D,CA) #395 (REVISED) Increases funding for the Defense Security Service by $5,206,997 for the purposes of procurement of advanced cyber threat detection sensors, hunt and response mechanisms, and commercial cyber threat intelligence to ensure Defense Industrial Base networks remain protected from nation state adversaries.

381. Torres, Norma (D,CA), Panetta (CA), Cisneros (CA), Stevens (MI) #457 (REVISED) Requires the Department of Defense, in consultation with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, to develop policies to assist small- and mid-sized manufacturers to meet cybersecurity requirements.

The Gallego amendment is interesting. It would require a DOD report to Congress setting out “the roles and missions, structure, capabilities, and training of the National Guard and the United States Northern Command, and an identification of emerging gaps and shortfalls in light of current homeland security threats to our country” {new §520(1)}. Critical infrastructure cybersecurity is never explicitly mentioned in the amendment (an odd oversight) but would almost certainly be covered in any DOD report submitted in response to this amendment.

The one specific threat that is mentioned is a “multi-State electromagnetic pulse event” {new §520(2)}. Presumably DOD would also include a geomagnetic storm event in any report on the topic as the response to the two would be similar.

Moving Forward

None of the amendments listed above are very controversial and only one provides a specific spending authorization. Spier would off-set that spending increase by decreasing the spending on “in section 101 for other procurement, Air Force” {new §16XX(b)}. I suspect that all five of these amendments will be adopted; most will be included in en bloc amendments.

HR 2500 will pass, probably along a nearly party-line vote. The Senate already passed their version of the NDAA, S 1790, so differences between the two bills will have to be worked out (probably over the summer recess) in a conference committee. Normally, that reported version of the NDAA would be expected to pass, but with the whimsical nature of the current occupant of the White House, that is not a guarantee that anyone would be willing to make.

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