Bill would require Pentagon to tell Congress about active ‘special cyber operations’

U.S. Sailors assigned to Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC) man their stations at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va., Aug. 4, 2010. // Photo by DoD

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Proposed House legislation would require the Defense Department to notify Congress when the military is engaged in sensitive cyber operations.

The bipartisan bill would compel the Defense Department to notify Congress when it takes action in cyberspace under U.S. Code Title 10, which supervises operations led by Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, as well as the Reserves. Title 10 is unrelated to the U.S. government’s intelligence gathering mission set, which is led by federal organizations like the National Security Agency.

Sponsored by top House Armed Service Committee Reps. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, Jim Langevin, D-R.I., and Adam Smith, D-Wash., the bill does not provide Congress with any additional authorization authority, but rather codifies an informal disclosure process that exists between the Defense Department and relevant congressional committees. There is no mention of a public disclosure element in the legislation, as much of the information discussed in these briefings would be presumably classified.

U.S. defense officials already notify lawmakers about such operations, but do so at their own discretion as there is no specific law currently in place to guide these private discussions.

Read more about the new bill on CyberScoop. 

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Congress, Cybersecurity, DOD, Pentagon