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TMCNet:  Senate Passes NDAA with Protection for National Guard Role in Cyber Missions

[December 21, 2013]

Senate Passes NDAA with Protection for National Guard Role in Cyber Missions

(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 -- The office of Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., issued the following news release: A week after the bill was passed by the House of Representatives, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with language written by U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) to protect the Delaware National Guard's 166th Network Warfare Squadron and Department of Defense (DoD) Reserve Components by ensuring their ability to continue carrying out cybersecurity missions. The bill now heads to President Obama for his signature.

The New Castle-based 166th Network Warfare Squadron plays a key role in our nation's offensive and defensive cyber capability, protecting America's critical infrastructure systems against the threat of cyber attacks. As part of the DoD strategy requirement in Section 933 of the House-Senate NDAA committee agreement, the language would halt, and likely prevent, cuts to the Squadron, as well as cyber units across the Air National Guard.

"From banks to traffic lights, and air traffic control systems to power grids, our nation's economy, health, and safety depend on our cyber infrastructure," Senator Coons said. "Securing this infrastructure against the very real threat of attacks by organized crime, terrorists, and even nation-states is one of the biggest national security challenges we face.

The 166th Network Warfare Squadron and other cyber units of the Air National Guard work on the front lines of this critical mission. These provisions will ensure that our nation's top defense planners recognize and utilize their unique capabilities to help us win the fight against cyber crime at home and overseas." Cosponsored by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the legislation was filed as an amendment to the NDAA in November and subsequently included in an updated version of the underlying bill written by the chairs of the House and Senate Armed Services committees. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives last week.

The language requires DoD to develop a strategy on the use of the Reserve Components in cyber missions. The amendment provisions include: 1. Providing for an inventory of the existing cyber skills of reserve component personnel, including the skills of units and elements in the reserve components that are transitioning to cyber missions; 2. Providing for an inventory of the existing infrastructure of the reserve components that contribute to the cyber missions of the United States Cyber Command, including the infrastructure available to units and elements in the reserve components that are transitioning to such missions; 3. Developing an estimate of the personnel, infrastructure and training required, and the costs that would be incurred, in connection with implementing the strategy for integrating the reserve components into the total force for support of the cyber missions of the Department and United States Cyber Command. The estimate will examine whether there are any misalignments between unit mission and facility readiness to support such missions; and 4. Protecting against unintended duplicate spending and preventing reduction in personnel of a cyber unit of the Air National Guard of the United States from being implemented or carried out in fiscal year 2014 before the submittal of the strategy.

The legislative text, beginning on page 394, can be downloaded here: TNS 30TacordaCheng-131221-4587329 30TacordaCheng (c) 2013 Targeted News Service

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