Defense

Tech amendments in the House NDAA

U.S. Air Force Cyber - photo share via DS 

Debate over the 2020 defense authorization bill is headed to the House floor with more than 400 amendments. Several tech amendments were included in the bill touching on cyber (especially related to the workforce), algorithmic bias, developing cybersecurity policies for small and mid-tier manufacturers and software acquisition.

Here's a quick rundown:

Creating a new quantum center. An amendment submitted by Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) directs the Pentagon and Air Force to stand up a Quantum Information Science Innovation Center and calls for $10 million to get it started.

Limiting algorithmic bias. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) issued an amendment that inserts language that requires "emerging technologies procured and used by the military will be tested for algorithmic bias and potential discriminatory outcomes."

Boosting cyber education. Two amendments would require DOD reports on ongoing efforts to shore up the cyber workforce pipeline. One focuses on training elementary, secondary and postsecondary students in cyber operations, defense and security. The other would allow associate degree-holders to qualify for the new Technology and National Security Fellowship program.

Piloting new cyber certification. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) offered a new pilot program, Cybersecurity Defense Academy, that would help train and place veterans in cybersecurity roles within the Defense Department via a public-private partnership with eligible cybersecurity firms. The academy would replace certain certification requirements for initial placement.

Paying for cloud. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) wants the undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment to produce a report on the feasibility of updated the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation to include requirements on "consumption-based solutions" -- basically anything that is metered on usage.

Raising the Defense Security Service's cyber budget. An amendment would give the Defense Security Service, soon to be the Defense Counterintelligence Security Agency, more than $5 million for cyber threat detection and mitigation.

Mining the president's national security memos. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Capabilities and Intelligence, submitted an amendment that would mandate the president turnover all DOD cyber operations-related national security memos to the congressional defense committees within 30 days of the bill's enactment.

Securing the supply chain from Chinese telecom companies. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) offered several amendments that would require the president to report on compliance with the Commerce Department's ZTE settlement agreement in June 2018, restore $75 million in funding the National Security Innovation Capital for critical military hardware and keep Huawei on the Bureau of Industry and Security's "Entity List" until it's proven the company didn't violate sanctions or steal intellectual property in the last five years. The latter amendment also requires evidence that "Huawei does not pose an ongoing threat to U.S. or allied telecommunications and infrastructure."

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at lwilliams@fcw.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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