The House Armed Services Committee passed its annual defense policy bill for fiscal 2019 on May 10. Included in the bill are a series of provisions related to future battlefield technologies. Here’s what to watch as the bill moves through the legislative process this summer.


- The bill requires the administration to submit a report on the effects of cyber-enabled information operations on U.S. national security. The report should include a summary of actions taken by the government to protect against those threats and a description of resources needed.

This is one of a number of steps to protect against campaigns such as the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

- The bill also requires a study on the possibility of establishing cyber reserve components for each state that could also provide cyber support to civilian agencies.

As part of the study, the committee directs DoD to consider a series of tasks, including responding to major network attacks, and gauging the U.S. cyber workforce capacity for both homeland defense and national power.

More specifically, the bill seeks to identify the potential role such teams would have with respect to processes set forth in Presidential Policy Directive 20, which is the process that governs global offensive and defensive cyber employment, Presidential Policy Directive 21, which lays out how to strengthen critical infrastructure and Presidential Policy Directive 41, which sets a whole of government framework for responding to domestic cyber incidents.

Given the structural and organizational implications this could create, the bill asks for an explanation of how the establishment of such teams may affect the ability of the Department of Defense “to organize, train, equip, and employ the Cyber Mission Force, and other organic cyber forces [and] to perform national defense missions and defense support to civil authorities for cyber incident response.” In addition it wants to know how such teams will affect how the Department of Homeland Security will “organize, train, equip, and employ cyber incident response teams [and] perform civilian cyber response missions.”

Electronic warfare

- Assessment of the department’s electronic warfare enterprise: With some worried that the joint force has overly divested electronic warfare capabilities relative to high-end adversaries, the bill requires the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop an implementation plan to conduct joint campaign modeling and wargaming for joint electromagnetic spectrum operations (JEMSO) of DoD. A report is due by February 18, 2019.

The provision stems from legislation introduced by Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., a retired Air Force general who specialized in electronic warfare during his service.

Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT)

- The bill directs the secretary of the Air Force to ensure military GPS terminals can receive trusted signals from the Galileo satellites of the European Union and the QZSS satellites of Japan, beginning with the second increment of the acquisition of the terminals.

The provision also requires that the secretary of the Air Force ensures GPS terminals have the capability to receive non-allied PNT signals.

- The bill requires the secretary of defense to designate an office to be responsible for coordinating common solutions for M-code modernization efforts among the military departments and other defense agencies 30 days after the enactment of the bill.

The provision also calls for a report no later than May 15, 2019 on M-code modernization efforts.


- The bill require a report no later than at the end of the year from the secretary of defense on how the evolved strategic satellite program, the protected tactical service program and the protected tactical enterprise service program all meet the requirement for resilient mission assurance and nuclear command and control.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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