House Armed Services panel establishes new cybersecurity subcommittee

House Armed Services panel establishes new cybersecurity subcommittee
© Greg Nash

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithStumbling plutonium pit project reveals DOE's uphill climb of nuclear modernization Congress should control its appetite for legacy programs when increasing defense budget House panel advances 8B defense bill MORE (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinBipartisan House group introduces legislation to set term limit for key cyber leader House panel approves B boost for defense budget Democratic lawmakers urge DHS to let Afghans stay in US MORE (D-R.I.) on Wednesday announced the establishment of a new cybersecurity-focused subcommittee on the panel. 

Langevin will chair the new subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems, which will branch off from the current subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, a panel Langevin previously chaired. 

The new subcommittee will have jurisdiction over issues including information technology, military science and technology programs, artificial intelligence programs, electronic warfare, computer software acquisition and other defense-focused cybersecurity topics. 

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Smith and Langevin both cited the need for a more focused cybersecurity panel following the inclusion of more than two dozen cybersecurity provisions in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), noting in a joint statement that the subcommittee would “focus more intently on these critical issues moving forward.”

“Over the last two years, the House Armed Services Committee has committed significant time and attention to cyber, emerging threats, and the future of warfare,” Smith and Langevin said. “While we are proud of what has already been accomplished, we considered how a more targeted focus could help us achieve even more objectives in the domain.”

“As technology continues to advance at an incredibly rapid rate — from artificial intelligence to biotechnology and everything in between — it is critical that the Armed Services Committee redoubles our efforts to bridge the gap between current capabilities and future requirements,” they added.

Langevin counts cybersecurity as one of his key areas of focus, and recently helped to negotiate the inclusion of the many cyber clauses in the NDAA, including the establishment of a national cyber director position at the White House.  

The announcement of the new cyber subcommittee comes as the federal government continues to grapple with the fallout from the discovery of the hacking incident involving IT group SolarWinds. 

The company had served many federal agencies as customers, with the Department of Defense among those compromised by an incident that U.S. intelligence officials have attributed to sophisticated Russian operatives taking place since 2019. 

The House Armed Services Committee's new cybersecurity panel will be separate from the House Homeland Security Committee’s subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation, which has jurisdiction over a much broader portion of federal cybersecurity issues outside of the Department of Defense.