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Providing Consideration for H.R. 1960, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014; and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1256, SWAP Jurisdiction Certainty Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LANGEVIN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, while I rise in opposition to this rule, I want to express my strong support for the underlying bill, H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act.

This legislation is not perfect; however, it ensures support for our men and women in uniform who sacrifice so much on our behalf, and includes provisions that are crucial to our military's future capabilities in this fiscally constrained environment.

Now, among other things, it fully supports the President's request for the peerless Virginia-class submarines, as well as critical future enablers such as the Ohio Class Replacement and the Virginia Payload Module.

It also includes the Oversight of Sensitive Military Operations Act which, for the first time, requires prompt notification to the defense committees of any overseas lethal or capture operations outside of Afghanistan, including those conducted with unmanned aerial vehicles.

Furthermore, I'm pleased that this measure begins to tackle the epidemic of sexual assault in our military. Our people in uniform need to know that they are protected from and against sexual assault, and God forbid if there is a sexual assault that occurs, that the perpetrator is held accountable.

While far more must be done, there are important first steps in this bill that are worthy of our strong support.

Mr. Speaker, I'm also proud to work closely with Chairman Mac Thornberry, both in this bill and in numerous other provisions which fall under the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities. Together, we have worked hard to increase resources for our Special Operations Forces, who are helping us confront shifting threats and unconventional battlefields, and to support our efforts in the cybersecurity realm.

There are many other positive steps with regard to cyber in this legislation, including incentivizing new cybersecurity standards, ensuring U.S. Cyber Command has the proper authorities and the personnel in coordinating cybersecurity efforts with related disciplines.

However, the reality is that our Nation's cybersecurity challenges cannot simply be handed over to the Department of Defense. With the vast majority of our critical infrastructure in private hands, we absolutely must require minimum standards for their owners and operators. It is way past time for Congress to move aggressively to partner with the private sector and address what I believe is our greatest national security vulnerability.

Meanwhile, though I applaud DHS's efforts to coordinate the various approaches to cybersecurity found across the Federal Government, I continue to believe that there must be an office within the White House with the policy and budgetary authority to enforce appropriate actions across the whole government. I'm disappointed the procedural and jurisdictional issues precluded offering such an amendment to the NDAA, but I am going to continue to work with my colleagues to enact what I believe to be a crucial provision.

Finally, I want to thank Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith, as well as Chairman Thornberry and all of my colleagues on the committee, but most especially the tireless HASC, for all of their efforts, which have been really Herculean in bringing this bill to the process of where we are today.

I certainly urge my colleagues to support the National Defense Authorization Act.

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