Dem lawmaker moves to block White House from eliminating cyber post

Dem lawmaker moves to block White House from eliminating cyber post
© Greg Nash

A Democratic congressman is looking to block the Trump administration from eliminating a top cybersecurity position in the White House.

Rep. Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur MoultonDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her 11 Dems float anti-Pelosi leadership plan: reports To cure Congress, elect more former military members MORE (D-Mass.) filed an amendment to annual defense policy legislation that would prohibit President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE from eliminating the cybersecurity coordinator position at the National Security Council (NSC).

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Officials confirmed this week that the administration would scrap the position, created under the Obama administration to coordinate cybersecurity policy across the federal government. The move has prompted broad scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers and former officials. 

An NSC spokesman said that the move would further “empower” the senior directors that make up the council and streamline its operations. 

“The National Security Council’s cyber office already has two very capable Senior Directors. Moving forward, these Senior Directors will coordinate cyber matters and policy. As they sit six feet apart from one another, they will be able to coordinate in real time," Robert Palladino, a spokesman for the NSC, told The Hill in a statement. 

"Today’s actions continue an effort to empower National Security Council Senior Directors. Streamlining management will improve efficiency, reduce bureaucracy and increase accountability,” Palladino continued. 

Moulton filed his amendment to the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with the House Rules Committee this week. It will be up to the committee to decide which amendments ultimately go to the floor when the full House votes on the bill next week.

Moulton’s effort follows bill introduced by two Democrats earlier this week that would effectively save the position by establishing a high-level cyber advisory position within the Executive Office of the President. 

Rob Joyce most recently held the position, though he announced last month that he would return to the National Security Agency (NSA) rather than continue in his role at the White House. Joyce was on detail from the NSA and had been serving in the White House for about a year.