Defense Bill Would Send Military Reinforcements to DHS’ Cyber Mission

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The bill would also transfer most of DISA’s network defense responsibilities to U.S. Cyber Command.

Military cyber pros would help the Homeland Security Department ensure the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, such as energy plants, hospitals and airports, under the House version of a major defense policy bill released Wednesday.

The military assistance would be limited to 50 cyber troops per year, according to the National Defense Authorization Act draft.

The provision was included in a draft released by the House Armed Services Committee’s emerging threats panel, which oversees most military cyber priorities. The committee will mark up the draft Thursday morning.

The draft bill would also shift most responsibility for managing Pentagon information networks from the Defense Information Systems Agency to U.S. Cyber Command. The shift mirrors a bill introduced by Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, last week.

The move is part of a broader effort by Thornberry to cut bureaucracy within so-called “fourth estate” Pentagon agencies that don’t report to any military service or command. Thornberry described those divisions in a recent op-ed as “analog agencies struggling to operate in a digital world.”

Another element of the draft bill would require a study on creating cyber civil support teams in military reserve units. The teams would primarily operate under the control of state governors and help states prepare for cyberattacks and other emergencies.

The draft bill would also require increased budget transparency about money the Pentagon plans to allocate for cyber vulnerability testing of major weapons systems.