The annual defense policy bill the Senate is taking up this week if passed would recast the job of Pentagon CIO — one of a series of changes lawmakers say are designed to cut down on waste and inefficiencies, streamline the defense secretary’s office, and improve the oversight and management of the department’s cybersecurity.
Currently, the Senate Armed Services Committee says in its summary of the bill’s provisions, “responsibility for cyber is split between three different organizations” in the office of the secretary of defense: a deputy assistant secretary in the policy shop; the the warfighting responsibilities of the Cyber Command and the NSA; and the CIO’s office itself.
The Senate bill in section 903 “would attempt to reduce these seams by establishing an assistant secretary of defense for information,” states the summary. “This position would not be an intelligence function. It would oversee the security of the Department of Defense information network, as well as defense space policy and cyber warfighting activities.”
“This Assistant Secretary would also serve as the Department’s Chief Information Officer,” the summary concludes.
The bill — S.2943 — is slated for the Senate floor this week. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said he would recommend a veto if the bill moves ahead with a provision to split up the job of under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, a position currently responsible for more than $160 billion in procurement annually.
As the bill is currently written, some of that office’s acquisition duties would pass to the newly created under secretary of defense for management and support, while most would be carried out by the assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering. That official would have an acquisition policy subordinate in charge of “setting defense-wide acquisition and industrial base policy and overseeing the development of weapons and national security systems by the military services,” according to a committee press release earlier this month.
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