Charlotte, NC – With Honor Action praises the bipartisan and bicameral efforts to bolster America’s cyber and digital capabilities in the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) but encourages the Senate to debate and pass their version swiftly. The House of Representatives passed its version of the NDAA on July 14, and the Senate is expected to debate and pass its version of the defense bill following the midterm election. After the Senate’s passage of the bill, the chambers will form a conference committee to reconcile differences in the bills.
As currently drafted, both chambers’ versions of the yearly defense bill make critical investments to America’s digital and cyber capabilities, hardening America’s cyber defenses and investing in our cyber workforce, but they need to be realized into law. The most impactful cyber provisions are outgrowths of recommendations made by the bipartisan Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), Co-Chaired by For Country Caucus Member Rep. Mike Gallagher and Senator Angus King of Maine. The CSC and its successor – the CSC 2.0 project, are vital to developing a consensus on a strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace against cyber attacks of significant consequences.
“We are grateful for the thoughtful, bipartisan work to strengthen America’s cyber defenses led by the Members of the For Country Caucus and informed by professionals like RADM (ret.) Mark Montgomery of the CSC 2.0 Project,” said Rye Barcott, CEO and Co-Founder of With Honor Action. “If enacted, these provisions will ensure that America remains the world’s preeminent cyber power.”
The following provisions in the House and Senate versions of the NDAA are of particular importance to With Honor. A full list of endorsed cyber provisions can be found here.
In the House Bill – H.R. 7900 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023:
- Section 5867 – Department of Defense Cyber and Digital Service Academy: Establishes a Department of Defense (DOD) Cyber and Digital Service Academy as a scholarship-for-service program in partnership with select universities and colleges. Scholarship recipients would receive financial support for cyber and related fields of study before incurring a DOD service requirement.
- Section 1112 – National Digital Reserve Corps: Establishes a program under the General Services Administration that will bridge the needs of the federal government with private sector capabilities by creating a reserve of cybersecurity and digital experts who can be detailed to executive agencies for at least 30 days per calendar year.
- Section 1504 – Cyber Threat Information Collaboration Environment Program: The collaborative environment will be designed to remove barriers to cyber threat information sharing between the public and private sectors. The currently fragmented approach has led to slow responses to attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure, this new environment would allow the federal government to rapidly detect, identify, and disseminate cyber threats and vulnerabilities to private-sector experts.
- Section 5133 – Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Expansion: Establishes a pilot program within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide cybersecurity training to eligible veterans and military spouses. DHS in coordination with the Veterans Administration will provide free training for eligible veterans, service members, and spouses thereby providing veterans and military families with new opportunities while developing America’s cyber talent.
In the Senate Bill – S.Amdt. 5499 to H.R. 7900 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023:
- Title LV Sections 5501 to 5509 – Information Security and Cyber Diplomacy Act: In April, the State Department announced that it will create its first Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. This bill will fund the bureau and emphasize the importance of its work by strengthening it with statutory language to carry out its mission of modernizing American diplomacy by partnering with our allies in cyberspace and to promote freedom of communications and information.