Tuesday, September 17, 2019

S 2474 Introduced – FY 2020 DOD Spending

Last week Sen. Shelby (R,AL) introduced S 2474, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2020. The bill was reported favorably by the Senate Appropriations Committee. There are no significant mentions of cybersecurity within the bill, but the Committee does include mentions of a number of cybersecurity programs within their Report.

Cybersecurity Training

The need to ensure an adequate supply of cybersecurity expertise continues to concern the Committee. On pages 226-7 the Committee outlines spending on three initiatives to address this concern:

$12 million increase in funding for the National Centers for Academic Excellence Cyber Defense program;
$25 million for a workforce development pilot program that would offer certificate-based courses through the Centers for Academic Excellence in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence; and
$10 million for Department of Defense Cyber Institutes to award scholarships, student and research support, and a K–12 cyber education program

On page 229 the Committee expresses its disappointment with “continued weaknesses in the Department of Defense’s cyber posture, to include challenges in the recruitment and retention of qualified cyber talent”. The Committee would allocate $1.5 million “to develop a program that identifies university partners and a structure to award scholarships to build a certified cyber defense workforce.”

Control System Security

Industrial control system security gets special mention in the Committee Report. On page 228 the Report notes that: “the Committee recommends $10,000,000 for industrial control systems cyber security solutions for key Department of Defense installations critical to homeland defense and overseas operations, with special emphasis on the Cheyenne Mountain Complex.

Counter UAS Research

With the unmanned aircraft system threat reaching public notice through the reported attack on Saudi oil targets, the Committee presciently addressed the issue on page 212. They note that “countering UAS operations presents a special series of unmet communications, command and control, cyber, and computation and intelligence challenges at the tactical edge.” The Committee encourages the Air
Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate to “to continue research and development into the detection and countering of UAS using advanced technologies to facilitate geo-location detection, determine individual and swarm behavior, dissect swarms to identify critical nodes, situational awareness, and mission intent.”

While this research is directed at DOD tactical concerns, the lessons learned and at least some of the techniques, tactics and equipment will find use in domestic counter UAS operations once Congress deals with the legal issues related to those operations.

Moving Forward

This bill does not look like it will make it to the floor of the Senate as a stand-alone bill. The language will almost certainly show up as proposed amendment to HR 2740 when (IF) it is considered on the floor of the Senate.

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