A bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to the president on March 15 urging him to fully resource and staff the agency tasked with countering foreign disinformation campaigns, including officially allocating up to $60 million in funds.

Top leadership from the House Armed Services Committee are asking the president to follow through on authorities included in both the 2018 National Security Strategy and FY ’17 National Defense Authorization Act to properly enable the State Department’s Global Engagement Center’s (GEC) mission to expose nation-state adversaries’ information warfare efforts.

“We write to urge you to enable and fully resource the GEC to effectively execute its roles and responsibilities in leading the United States effort to counter the exploitation of the information environment by state and non-state actors aimed at undermining U.S. national security interests,” Reps. Marc Thornberry (R-Texas) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the committee’s chairman and ranking member, respectively, wrote.

A January 2017 intelligence community assessment confirmed Russia’s attempt to influence in the 2016 presidential election with disinformation and social media campaigns.

The GEC was created in the FY ’17 NDAA as a forum to facilitate State Department and Department of Defense resources in the effort to counter and expose nation-state actors attempts at information operations and propaganda efforts.  

The latest National Security Strategy cited the current response to information warfare as below par and fragmented.

The NDAA also gave DoD the authority to transfer up to $60 million of its own funds to support the GEC.

Previous reports have confirmed the State Department has yet to spend allocated funds meant to thwart election interference. The administration also has yet to appoint a director to lead GEC, according to the letter.

“We are therefore disappointed that to date your administration has not provided adequate resources, including funding and personnel, to the GEC to carry out its mission and, furthermore, that you have not yet appointed a director to lead the agency in this endeavor,” the lawmakers wrote. “We can no longer afford to assume the risk exploitation incurs to our citizens and our democratic institutions and values.”

Chairwoman and ranking member of the Emerging Threats & Capabilities Subcommittee, Reps Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), also signed the letter.