Defense

Senate overrides Trump's veto; NDAA becomes law

By Orhan Cam Royalty-free stock photo ID: 546416560 United States Capitol Building in Washington DC USA 

The U.S. Senate voted to override the president's veto of the annual defense bill in a rare New Year's Day vote.

The vote was 81-13.

The $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act now becomes law over the objections of President Donald Trump, who vetoed the bill because it did not include a non-defense provision to eliminate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which shields online platforms from liability claims arising from user speech. Trump also objected to a provision in the NDAA that calls for renaming military installations named for Confederate leaders.

The House voted to override Trump's veto on Dec. 28, on a 322-87 vote.

This was the first veto override of Trump's presidency. The bill had passed both chambers by overwhelming majorities before Trump's veto. Traditionally, the annual NDAA is regarded as must-pass legislation. The bill has been signed into law by the close of the calendar year for 59 straight years.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in remarks on the Senate floor on Friday that the bill includes multiple cybersecurity provisions "directly relevant to the Solar Winds hack" including new authorities to allow "the cyber division of DHS to begin hunting threats on government networks."

The ranking member on the committee, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), warned on cybersecurity risks when urging colleagues to override Trump's veto. "Every day we are learning more about the Russian penetration," he said. "I suspect it's very serious." He said the cybersecurity measures in the NDAA that were recommended by a congressional commission are "just the first step…but if we don't take this first step we fall behind."

Another key provision is giving the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at DHS the authority to issue administrative subpoenas that will enhance the agency's ability to investigate hacks of private sector networks.

"Today, CISA cannot make contact with a company that has a vulnerable piece of infrastructure on the internet," Brandon Wales, CISA's acting director, said in December.

About the Authors

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, 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 [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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