Representing the 4th District of Connecticut

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Himes introduces bill, amendment to clarify military rules on cyber attacks

May 18, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) introduced the bipartisan Cyber Act of War Act, a bill that would require the Administration and the Department of Defense to develop a policy for determining when an action carried out in cyberspace constitutes a use of force against the United States and to update the Law of War Manual accordingly. Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

Himes also proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require the Secretary of Defense to create a report to Congress within 180 days comprehensively outlining military procedures in response to a malicious cyber activity carried out against the United States.

“From my seat on the Intelligence Committee, I see cyber threats both from state actors and asymmetrical threats,” said Himes. “We need to make it clear to anyone who has the very bad idea of attacking us in the cyber realm that we have the capability to defend ourselves and there will be predictable and swift reactions to provocation.”

Himes is the ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He and Subcommittee Chairman Lynn Westmoreland have pushed the State Department and the military to take the lead in developing international norms to govern cyber conduct in the tradition of the Geneva Convention, an E-Neva Convention.

“My amendment to the NDAA would give us a glimpse into how the military is prepared to respond in case of cyber attack,” said Himes. “The bill goes several steps further and actually requires further development of those policies and codification of them into the Law of War Manual. This is important because both our allies and rivals should know under what conditions we will respond if attacked and exactly what kind of cyber actions we consider to be a use of force, which moves us closer to the establishment of international norms.”