House subpanel pushes 'unconventional warfare' in defense bill

House subpanel pushes 'unconventional warfare' in defense bill
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A House subcommittee is pushing cyber and unconventional warfare in its portion of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

The draft released Tuesday by the House Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee calls for developing a strategy for unconventional warfare, such as enabling a resistance movement.

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Included in the draft is a push for counter-messaging against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The bill also specifically calls out threats from Russia and Iran.

“The committee remains concerned about the growing unconventional warfare capabilities and threats being posed most notably and recently by the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” a summary of the draft reads.

“The committee also notes that most state-sponsors of unconventional warfare, such as Russia and Iran, have doctrinally linked conventional warfare, economic warfare, cyber warfare, information operations, intelligence operations, and other activities seamlessly in an effort to undermine U.S. national security objectives and the objectives of U.S. allies alike.”

Last year’s NDAA also called for a strategy on unconventional warfare. Since the Pentagon needs to coordinate with other agencies on the strategy, this year’s bill would call for progress reports should the Pentagon need more time deliver the strategy.

On cyber, the bill would give the Pentagon new emergency procurement powers to help recover from a potential cyber attack.

The Pentagon would also need to develop a new security clearance information technology system to replace the Office of Personnel Management system that was hacked.

The bill would also direct the comptroller general to look at how Cyber Command has progressed since it became operational six years ago.

For counter messaging, the bill would call for a comprehensive strategy. In addition to ISIS’ messaging, the committee is concerned about Russia’s messaging in Ukraine, according to the summary.

“Not only does the department need to consider how adversaries use such information strategies to support their operations and undermine our own,” the summary reads, “but the committee believes that the department should be developing an integrated strategy that can leverage, and when necessary combine with, allied and partner capabilities to maximize our messaging and its broader effects.”