Cybersecurity

Langevin presses Trump for details on cyber ops

Shutterstock ID 1041857944 By Lagarto Film 

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, publicly blasted the Trump administration for neglecting to brief Congress on how the U.S. military is using expanded offensive cyber authorities.

Langevin and other HASC leaders from both parties wrote to President Trump in February requesting a copy of National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) 13 which outlined the new authorities being assumed by the administration. That letter was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Last year, the administration rescinded Presidential Policy Directive 20 drafted under President Barack Obama, which laid out a complex interagency process for approving U.S. offensive cyber operations. The White House replaced that policy with NSPM 13, which National Security Advisor John Bolton said would no longer "tie the hands" of the military when it came to striking back at foreign cyber threats.

Since then, U.S. Cyber Command has executed at least two publicly known operations against Russian intelligence agencies and another against Iranian rocket and missile computer systems, but has thus far refused to let members of Congress read the document or brief them on the new policy.

Langevin's office told FCW in June that the White House's continued refusal to share documents detailing how the military was conducting sensitive operations in cyberspace "impedes Congress's ability to ensure both law and policy are followed."

"Congress has a vital role to play in ensuring any offensive cyber operations do not inadvertently undermine that stability and reflect our commitments to responsible state behavior in this new domain," Langevin said in a statement put out hours after the story published. "Unfortunately, the White House has continually stymied our attempts to conduct this Constitutionally protected oversight, refusing to provide important policy documents that took effect nearly a year ago."

Langevin also introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill that would give the administration 30 days to hand over copies of all National Security Presidential Memorandums relating to Department of Defense operations in cyberspace.

"I expect these documents to be provided immediately, or else we will take measures to require them by law," Langevin continued in his statement. "Defending our nation in cyberspace requires close collaboration between the legislative and the executive branches, and I am deeply disappointed that the president refuses to work with us on this vital issue."

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a senior staff writer at FCW, covering governmentwide IT policy, cybersecurity and a range of other federal technology issues.

Prior to joining FCW, Johnson was a freelance technology journalist. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, GoodCall News, Foreign Policy Journal, Washington Technology, Elevation DC, Connection Newspapers and The Maryland Gazette.

Johnson has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Hofstra University and a Master's degree in public policy from George Mason University. He can be contacted at djohnson@fcw.com, or follow him on Twitter @derekdoestech.

Click here for previous articles by Johnson.


Featured

  • Cybersecurity
    CISA chief Chris Krebs disusses the future of the agency at Auburn University Aug. 22 2019

    Shared services and the future of CISA

    Chris Krebs, the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at DHS, said that many federal agencies will be outsourcing cyber to a shared service provider in the future.

  • Telecom
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA softens line on looming EIS due date

    Think of the September deadline for agencies to award contracts under the General Services Administration's $50-billion telecommunications contract as a "yellow light," said GSA's telecom services director.

  • Defense
    Shutterstock photo id 669226093 By Gorodenkoff

    IC looks to stand up a new enterprise IT program office

    The intelligence community wants to stand up a new program executive office to help develop new IT capabilities.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.