Washington Weekly – April 3, 2015

April 3, 2015

The House and Senate were in recess this week.


Protecting Cyber Networks Act

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a transcript of its markup of HR 1560, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA). A manager’s amendment making technical changes to the bill was adopted by voice vote prior to final passage in committee this week. The markup was closed to the public, so the transcript provides a little more information about some of the changes in the manager’s amendment as well as other amendments that were offered and withdrawn by committee members.

The transcript can be found at:


Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities Executive Order

President Obama issued an executive order this week that creates a new, targeted authority for the US government to respond to malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by, persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States. The executive order authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on individuals or entities that engage in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States, and that have the purpose or effect of:

  • Harming or significantly compromising the provision of services by entities in a critical infrastructure sector;
  • Significantly disrupting the availability of a computer or network of computers (for example, through a distributed denial-of-service attack); or
  • Causing a significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources, trade secrets, personal identifiers, or financial information for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain (for example, by stealing large quantities of credit card information, trade secrets, or sensitive information).

The new Executive Order further authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on certain individuals or entities that:

  • Knowingly receive or use trade secrets that were stolen by cyber-enabled means for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain, where the underlying theft of the trade secrets is reasonably likely to result in, or has materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States (for example, where a corporation knowingly profits from stolen trade secrets); or
  • Attempt, assist in, or provide material support for any of the above harms.
  • This authority will be used in a targeted manner against the most significant cyber threats that we face, whether they are directed against our critical infrastructure, our companies, or our citizens.  The United States will continue to employ all available means, including diplomatic and law enforcement mechanisms, to counter these threats.

The President’s Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities Executive Order:


The President’s letter to the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate on the Executive Order:


House FY16 National Defense Authorization Act Markup

House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) released the committee’s markup schedule for the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The committee will meet to mark up the legislation in subcommittee and full committee as follows:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2:30 PM – Subcommittee on Emerging Threats & Capabilities Markup (Room 2118)

4:00 PM – Subcommittee on Readiness Markup (Room 2212)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

8:30 AM – Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces Markup (Room 2118)

9:30 AM – Subcommittee on Military Personnel Markup (Room 2212)

10:30 AM – Subcommittee on Seapower & Projection Forces Markup (Room 2118)

12:00 PM – Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Markup (Room 2212)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

10:00 AM—Full Committee Markup (Room 2118)

Politico is reporting that the HASC is considering marking up a FY16 NDAA that authorizes $561B for base funding, which was the level requested by the Obama administration. They would then designate $38B of that funding for Overseas Contingency Operations.

House Homeland Security Committee Bills Introduced

Six freshmen Republican members of the House Homeland Security Committee introduced bills this week aimed at curbing waste, fraud, and abuse, and at increasing transparency at the Department of Homeland Security. The bills were introduced by Reps. Carter (R-GA), Hurd (R-TX), Loudermilk (R-GA), McSally (R-AZ), Ratcliffe (R-TX), and Walker (R-NC).

The freshmen Homeland Security Committee members introduced the following legislation:

HR 1615, the DHS FOIA Efficiency Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Carter, directs DHS’s Chief FOIA Officer to make certain improvements in the implementation the Freedom of Information Act.

A link to the bill:


HR 1626, the DHS IT Duplication Reduction Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Hurd, requires a report to Congress as they seek to reduce duplication of information technology at the department.

A link to the bill:


HR 1633, the DHS Paid Administrative Leave Accountability Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Loudermilk, requires improvements to the tracking and reporting of DHS employees placed on administrative leave, or any other type of paid non-duty status, for personnel matters.

A link to the bill:


HR 1634, the Border Security Technology Accountability Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. McSally, chairman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, strengthens accountability for DHS’ deployment of border security technology.

A link to the bill:


HR 1637, the Federally Funded Research and Development Sunshine Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Ratcliffe, chairman of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies Subcommittee, requires annual reports on the activities and accomplishments of DHS’s federally funded research and development centers.

A link to the bill:


HR 1640, the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Walker, directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit to Congress a report on DHS’s headquarters consolidation project at St. Elizabeth’s.

A link to the bill:


Global Entrepreneurship Summit

The Government of Kenya has agreed to co-host the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) this July. Organized annually since 2009, the GES has emerged as a global platform connecting emerging entrepreneurs with leaders from business, international organizations, and governments looking to support them. This will be the first time the GES will take place in sub-Saharan Africa. President Obama will travel to Kenya in July, where he will hold bilateral meetings and participate in the GES. This will be President Obama’s fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa during his presidency.

Political Updates

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was indicted by a grand jury this week on federal corruption charges. The charges stem from a Justice Department and FBI probe of Menendez and his longtime friend Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida opthamologist. Menendez was the Ranking Democrat, but sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stating that he would give up his post temporarily. Next in line on the committee is Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) who is expected to stay on as ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. After Boxer is Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) who is the likely successor.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) confirmed this week that he plans to announce his candidacy for President and/or US Senate re-election at 5:30 PM on April 13 likely from the Freedom Tower in Miami, FL.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced this week that she is running for Senate in 2016 against incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL). She is the first Democrat to declare for what could be a crowded race against Kirk. Other democrats eyeing candidacies include Reps. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and Bill Foster (D-IL).

Rob Nabors, the former Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy is now taking over as the new Chief of Staff at the Veterans Affairs Department. Prior to joining OMB, Nabors worked for the House Appropriations Committee as Minority Staff Director. Nabors replaces Joe Riojas, who has served as Chief of Staff since July 2013.

The Chief Technology Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services, Bryan Sivak announced that he is leaving government and his last day will be at the end of April.

Next Week

The House and Senate are in recess and return the week of April 13.

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