Washington, DC— Last night, the House of Representatives passed the annual Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) as part of the end-of-year package that included government funding for the coming year and coronavirus-relief spending.  The IAA authorizes the United States’ Intelligence Communities (IC) programs and budget.  Several provisions included in the funding bill were adapted from initiatives and bills championed by Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04), who serves as the Chairman of the Strategic Technologies and Advanced Research (STAR) Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“As a member of the Intelligence Committee, I spend much of my time thinking about our national security and how to stay one step ahead of our geopolitical rivals,” said Himes.  “The most recent Sunburst hack, which appears to originate from Russia, shows that we must always be vigilant because those who would harm us never rest. That’s why I am pleased that many proposals that will enhance our cybersecurity made it into the IAA.”

The bill includes:

  • A requirement that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence submit a report to Congress on research and development for scientific and technological advancements of foreign adversaries that impact the national security of the United States. And provide insight on cooperation/collaboration with allies
  • Authority for the Intelligence Community (IC) to establish relationships with academic institutions to enhance the skill set of the future IC workforce, in particular as it relates to science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics.  
  • Adoption of several of the Cyberspace Solarium proposals, including how the IC interacts with the private sector and operators of critical infrastructure concerning foreign cybersecurity threats.
  • Contains language indicating that the IC should consolidate its artificial intelligence research and development activities and requires the DNI to identify such areas. 

In October of this year, the STAR Subcommittee released a report, “Rightly Scaled, Carefully Open, Infinitely Agile: Reconfiguring to Win the Innovation Race in the Intelligence Community,” which examined the need for the United States Government to prioritize a strategic approach to the innovation and technology sector and made recommendations to enhance the IC’s approach to innovation.

“The Intelligence Authorization is a chance for us to show both friend and foe that we’re going to put the time and resources into cybersecurity and cyberdefense,” Himes continued. “The investment we make now will mean the difference between continued American dominance well into the 21st Century and beyond, or a world where we lose a step to our adversaries with potentially disastrous consequences.”

With any questions, contact Patrick Malone at Patrick.malone@mail.house.gov.