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House Armed Services Adds Cybersecurity-focused Panel for Technology Oversight

The House Armed Services Committee has formed a new cybersecurity-focused subcommittee to oversee the Department of Defense’s use of cyber, emerging technology and information systems.

The new Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems (CITI) Subcommittee was branched out of the previous Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, stood up during the 116th Congress. Some intelligence and non-technical work of the former subcommittee will continue on under a new Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations.

The split will enable more targeted oversight on technical issues, Smith and Langevin said. “As technology continues to advance at an incredibly rapid rate, from artificial intelligence to biotechnology and everything in between, it is critical that the Armed Services Committee redoubles our efforts to bridge the gap between current capabilities and future requirements,” House Armed Services Committee chair Adam Smith (D-WA) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), who will chair the new subcommittee, said. "While we are proud of what has already been accomplished, we considered how a more targeted focus could help us achieve even more objectives in the domain,” they said.

Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems (CITI) Subcommittee Details

The full list of CITI’s jurisdiction:

  • Cyber security, operations, and forces
  • Information technology, systems, and operations
  • Science and technology programs and policy
  • Defense-wide research and development (except missile defense and space)
  • Artificial intelligence policy and programs
  • Electromagnetic spectrum policy
  • Electronic warfare policy
  • Computer software acquisition policy

The CITI subcommittee’s formation comes on the heels of the new $740 billion 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains 77 cybersecurity articles, 27 drawn directly from 25 recommendations presented by the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) last year to improve the nation’s cybersecurity posture. The NDAA’s additional 50 cybersecurity measures were developed by Congressional committees.

National Cyber Director

An important clause to restore the position of national cyber director within the White House responsible for coordinating federal cybersecurity policies maps to the standalone National Cyber Director Act introduced in July 2020 by Langevin and Mike Gallagher (R-WI). That bipartisan legislation called for a lead to function as the president’s principal advisor on cybersecurity and associated emerging technology issues. The person filling the job would be nominated by the president and subject to Senate confirmation.

CSC co-chairs Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and Gallagher called the NDAA the “most comprehensive and forward-looking piece of national cybersecurity legislation in the nation’s history,” additionally describing the national cyber director post as a “real game changer.”

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.