Sunday, July 26, 2020

HR 7617 Reported in House – FY2021 DOD Spending

Earlier this month the House Appropriations Committee published their marked-up version of HR 7617, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2021, and their Report on the bill. There is only one specific cyber mention in the bill, but there are a number of mentions of cyber related topics in the report; none specifically addressing control system security issues.

Cyber in HR 7617

While cyber operations are becoming a bigger part of overall military operations there is only one mention of the term ‘cyber’ in HR 7617. In §8125(a)(7) ‘Defensive Cyber Operations Army’ are mentioned as a potential target for funding for software development funds under the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation spending authorization.

Cyber Training

Various training initiatives are addressed in the Committee Report. Most of the mentions include a requirement to report back to the Committee on the progress of the related program. These mentions include:

• Pgs 10-11 - Civilian cyber workforce,
• Pg 32 - Cybersecurity professionals,
• Pg 320 - Cyber education collaboratives, and
• Pg 322 - Women and minorities in stem pipeline.

There are three rather vanilla mentions of cybersecurity processes in the Report. They include:

• Pg 113 - Standards and protocols on countering cybersecurity incidents,
• Pg 113 - Zero trust architecture, and
• Pg 318 - Distributed ledger technology research and development.

There is only one place in the Report where specific funding is mentioned in relation to cybersecurity processes, on page 325, under Arsenal Security. It states:

“The Committee believes that maintaining security, including threats from cyber-attacks, data piracy, and other technological risks, of Department of Defense arsenals is essential. The Committee directs that of the funds included under Industrial Operations, $3,500,000 is to implement efforts to combat these types of threats.”

Moving Forward

This bill will be used as the base for the second minibus spending bill in the House. The House Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday to set the rule for the consideration of the bill on the floor of the House, to include a list of which amendments will be authorized to be submitted from the floor. There have been 110 amendments for this portion of the bill submitted to the Rules Committee.

At this point it is not yet clear that the Democrats have the votes to pass the second minibus. They certainly have a majority in the House, but it is potential ‘no votes’ from the progressive wing of the party that could disable this bill. The problem is not the DOD portion of the bill, but rather a failure to ‘adequately sanction’ ICS and CBP in the DHS portion of the bill that would be the reason for the ‘Nays’.

The Rules Committee meeting has already been delayed one-day to add time to resolve this issue. Pelosi is aware that the Party needs support of the recently elected moderates that allowed the Democrats to take control of the House, so the DHS provisions cannot be too extreme. The Progressives, on the other hand, need to have strong punitive measures in the bill to appease their supporters.

The easy solution is to follow the example of last year, leave the DHS spending bill on the Committee floor and not consider it on the floor of the House. The resolution would then be left to the conference committee that would essentially craft a compromise spending omnibus spending bill before year end. And yes, an omnibus bill is almost a foregone conclusion; the Senate has not yet even been able to craft a single spending bill in Committee and the ‘August Recess’ is fast approaching (though, to be sure that recess may still be a victim of the COVID-19 disruption).

No comments:

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