The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Subcommittee for Emerging Threats and Capabilities includes priorities for cyberspace operations in a draft of its portion of a defense authorization bill released on Tuesday. 

The panel, led by Chairwoman Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Ranking Member Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), would add funds to NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCD COE), calling for the Secretary of Defense to report on counter strategies to North Korean and Chinese Cyber attacks and increasing the breadth of cyber operations briefings to all congressional defense committees.CAPITOL 

The proposal would provide the subcommittee oversight of counterterrorism policy, cyber operations and programs, and homeland defense management.

The Emerging Threats and Capabilities panel includes a legislative provision to authorize $5 million in fiscal year 2018 to go towards supporting NATO CCD COE. The mark also directs Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to assign a specific executive agent within the Department of Defense to manage CCD COE relations.

The subcommittee wants to enhance CCD COE’s ability to facilitate “education, research and development, lessons learned and consultation in cyber defense and warfare,” according to the proposal.

Another proposed provision directs Mattis to develop and provide details on a plan to bolster comprehensive information operations and strategic cyber strategies to counter Chinese and North Korean information warfare tactics. The panel also calls on Mattis to provide briefings to all congressional defense committees on this cyber defense plan no later than 180 days after the FY ’18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is passed.

The draft text cites the February 2016 testimony of Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Adm. Harry Harris describing how the ‘‘increased cyber capacity and nefarious activity, especially by China, North Korea, and Russia underscore the growing requirement to evolve command, control, and operational authorities.” The panel wants to provide operational units with the full capabilities PACOM requires for planning and integration of cyber forces.

The draft mark proposes several additions to increase transparency on cyber operations, such as including all congressional defense committees in quarterly cyber operations briefings and requiring the defense secretary to notify the committees of any sensitive cyber military operation,

The subcommittee suggests adding cyber education into the NDAA guidelines, specifically calling for the establishment of a DoD Cyber Scholarship Program. The mark calls for authorizing $10 million in FY ’18 to assist those seeking associate degrees in cyber with scholarships.

“The committee is concerned that lack of funding under this program may further aggravate the challenges the Department is experiencing in recruiting and retaining cyber security personnel. The committee believes that providing additional opportunities under the program will be beneficial in continuing to address Department requirements for a qualified cyber workforce,” the panel says.

The subcommittee will markup its section of the full committee’s version of the FY ’18 NDAA at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.