Turner and Himes: With Increased Terror Threat, We Need This Year’s Intelligence Authorization Act Now More Than Ever
Washington, D.C., December 14, 2023
Today, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner (OH-10) and Ranking Member Jim Himes (CT-04) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (IAA), which was attached to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The IAA authorizes funding for the United States Intelligence Community (IC) and strengthens congressional oversight of the IC’s methods of collecting and analyzing information.
“This year’s Intelligence Authorization Act makes certain that the Intelligence Community has the tools it needs to keep the nation safe and to provide our policymakers and warfighters the advantage at a time of heightened threats. The United States is at its greatest risk of terrorism in more than a decade following the horrific October 7th attack on Israel, and the IC must focus attention and resources on that threat while continuing to stay ahead of China. The IAA also continues the Committee’s bipartisan focus on the expanded adoption of advanced technology across the IC’s mission and provides the resources and capabilities needed to address the dire threats facing our country,” said Chairman Turner and Ranking Member Himes.
The legislation advances significant bipartisan House Intelligence Committee priorities, including:
Taking Steps to Improve Counterintelligence Posture Against Foreign Intelligence Threats to the United States
The IAA takes multiple steps to build the counterintelligence capabilities the nation needs to protect against the growing threats from diverse foreign actors. This includes initiatives such as codifying and growing the CIA’s counterintelligence school, increasing resources for counterintelligence programs, and establishing necessary counterintelligence support to the Department of Agriculture to help mitigate potential threats to food supplies.
Adopting Cutting-Edge Technology
America faces an evolving and disruptive global landscape that requires us to be agile and at the forefront of cutting-edge research and development and technology adoption. The speed at which we move is imperative. The bill paves the way for an Intelligence Community Innovation Unit to identify relevant capabilities and quickly adopt technology useful to the Intelligence Community. Pivotal improvements need to be made between the Intelligence Community and the private sector, academia, government research organizations, and our allies. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence must be at the forefront of the 21st Century’s competition to leverage a national approach to addressing the many and varied threats we face.
Addressing Deficiencies in CIA’s Response to Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Workforce
Following a bipartisan Committee investigation initiated after CIA whistleblowers approached Congress, this year’s IAA will require the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to establish and implement significant policy and procedural reforms necessary to better protect and support survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment within the Agency, and ensure that perpetrators of crimes are appropriately held accountable.
Continuing Support Related to Anomalous Health Incidents
The 2024 IAA ensures the necessary structures, support, and resources to continue the important task of taking care of affected personnel, effectively investing in necessary research, and continuing the administration’s investigation into anomalous health incidents, commonly known as “Havana Syndrome.”
Retaining and Recruiting a Strong Intelligence Community Workforce
A priority of the Committee is to ensure that the Intelligence Community continues to hire the best and brightest to serve our nation. HPSCI, through this legislation, has enhanced hiring incentives and talent management authorities for the Intelligence Community to recruit and retain the most capable and patriotic public servants. The Committee also reduced waste in government by limiting cumbersome reporting requirements, making space for the Intelligence Community to dedicate and focus resources on current and emerging threats.
Concrete Actions to Support the CIA Workforce
This year’s IAA includes several provisions specifically designed to address challenges experienced by the CIA’s workforce, with the intent to improve the recruitment, retention, and rewarding of personnel who put their lives at risk on behalf of the nation. This includes technical fixes to administrative challenges experienced by intelligence officers, aligning retention rewards to vital career fields, and providing rewards to high-demand personnel who perform important tasks.
Bolstering Intelligence Collection and Processing From Sea to Space
This bill seeks to improve the Intelligence Community’s collection capabilities with investments to pursue advantages in all operational environments (air, cyber, land, sea, and space). Investments in seaborne and space-borne sensors are intended to create intelligence opportunities while reducing risks associated with new space architectures. This bill also supports the Committee’s oversight mechanisms while enhancing appropriate information sharing between agencies.
Utilization of the Commercial Cloud
The Intelligence Community continues to invest in commercial cloud services for data storage and special analytic tools. The IAA includes several provisions to ensure transparency, fairness, and accurate cost and utilization assessments. The Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E) contract will cost taxpayers billions of dollars over the next decade. HPSCI’s legislation will ensure the Intelligence Community is achieving the best value by utilizing advanced commercial tools and services while remaining within budget.
Securing Classified Systems
In furtherance of HPSCI’s priorities this year, the Committee has taken great measures to secure classified systems and documents from insider threats. This is just a starting point, and the Committee acknowledges that more must be done to protect U.S. national security information. The legislation includes a requirement for the entire Intelligence Community to appropriately budget to meet vital cyber security requirements for national security systems no later than September 30, 2026. Threats to our classified and sensitive networks are growing, as evidenced by nation-state intrusions and insider threats. The Intelligence Community must move with a sense of urgency to add additional security measures to our classified networks.
Short-Term Extension of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is one of our country’s most effective national security tools. It allows the United States to counter our adversaries, like China and Russia, thwart potential terrorist attacks from ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, and disrupt international drug cartels who are looking to smuggle fentanyl into our nation. This legislation extends the sunset for Title VII of FISA from December 31, 2023, to April 19, 2024.
Click here to read the full text of the legislation.