Cybersecurity, missile defense and the F-35 fighter jet are among the areas highlighted in a bipartisan defense policy measure unveiled by leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees late Dec. 9.
Formally known as the fiscal 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, the bill is a compromise between separate House and Senate versions. It heads to the full House and Senate and then President Obama for final approval.
According to a nine-page summary, the bill calls for greater attention to the growing threat of cyber attacks. It will require the Department of Defense to examine whether cyber capabilities are properly balanced across national security organizations. It also directs DoD to create standards for cyber operations training, and commission an independent assessment of the organization, missions and authorities of U.S. Cyber Command.
In addition, the Department of Energy receives “important authorities … to ensure the integrity of its information technology supply chain,” the summary says. “This is similar in authority available to DoD and the Intelligence Community and is critical following the discovery of Chinese-supplied technology linked to the People’s Liberation Army at one of the nation’s most important nuclear weapons laboratories.”
The bill prods the Missile Defense Agency to plan to deploy an East Coast missile defense site, and authorizes DoD to pursue U.S. co-production of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system. To counter Iran, DoD is urged to integrate its air and missile defense systems with allies in the Persian Gulf.
Several major weapon systems receive attention. The bill requires an independent assessment of software for the multi-service F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and directs the Navy to provide a long-term sustainment plan for the Littoral Combat Ship. The legislation endorses fuel-efficiency improvements for the M1 Abrams tank, development of a Long Range Strike Bomber and multi-year procurement of E-2D Hawkeye and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.
The bill also: boosts “readiness” accounts that have been cut in recent years, including flying hours, depot maintenance and facilities sustainment; requires DoD to submit a plan for drawing down defense intelligence assets in Afghanistan; and allows private firms and DoD to continue exchanging information technology personnel.
The measure recommends $632.8 billion in spending, including $80.7 billion for overseas operations. How much money will actually be available depends on the fate of the FY 2014 defense appropriations bill, which remains pending in Congress more than two months after the fiscal year began Oct. 1.