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The DoD Spending Bill - $858 Billion and Big on Cyber

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In December, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an $858 Billion spending bill that’s big on almost everything related to defense, including the all-important issue of cybersecurity.  The legislation, which authorizes $817 billion specifically for the Department of Defense, will provide $45 billion more than Biden’s budget request earlier this year.

Noted President Biden, “Today, I have signed into law H.R. 7776, the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (the Act). The Act authorizes fiscal year appropriations for the Department of Defense, for Department of Energy national security programs, and for the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and the Intelligence Community.”

The measure approves an additional $44 million for Cyber Command’s “hunt forward” missions. Since 2018, the cyber warfighting unit has deployed such teams as part of its “persistent engagement” strategy 38 times to 21 foreign countries to uncover malware and other vulnerabilities over 60 networks.  Moreover, the massive spending bill states that if the President of the United States determines there is an “active, systemic and ongoing campaign of attacks in cyberspace by a foreign power” against the U.S. government or the country’s critical infrastructure, CYBERCOM can conduct offensive operations in response, with presidential approval.

Additionally, under bi-partisan support, the NDAA includes an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy position at the Pentagon — a move the Biden administration had previously objected to.

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