Citing Risks Found by Independent Review of Nuclear Systems, Reps. Carbajal, Bacon, Gallagher, Unveil NDAA Push to Strengthen Nuclear Cybersecurity Standards

Lawmakers will seek to include bipartisan proposal in next week’s mark-up of the National Defense Authorization Act

Today, Congressmen Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Don Bacon (NE-02) and Mike Gallagher (WI-08), members of the House Armed Services Committee, unveiled a bipartisan measure aimed at strengthening the cybersecurity practices for the United States’ nuclear weapons system.

The lawmakers intend to push for the inclusion of this language in next week’s mark up of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024.

“There are some causes that may not seem worth Congress’ time at first glance. Closing gaps in the cybersecurity practices of our nation’s nuclear systems is not one of them,” said Rep. Carbajal, a member of our Strategic Forces subcommittee. “I look forward to building support for our bipartisan amendment that can provide a straightforward pathway to ensuring we have no reason to doubt the security of our most dangerous weapon systems.”

“Our nuclear forces are the backbone of our Nation’s strategic deterrence,” said Rep. Bacon. “We should put every effort into protecting our nuclear arsenal and be vigilant about cybersecurity risks. I thank Rep. Carbajal for leading this important amendment with me so that we can have confidence in the security of our nuclear weapons.”

“A ready and resilient nuclear force is critical to American deterrence. I am proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan effort to ensure that the systems keeping our nuclear forces capable are cyber secure—free from adversarial interference and prepared for action at all times,” said Rep. Gallagher.

A report from the Government Accountability Office published in September which found that the National Nuclear System Administration was delinquent in fully implementing federally-recommended cybersecurity practices.

The lawmaker’s proposed language would set up a Cybersecurity Risk Inventory, Assessment, and Mitigation Working Group within the Department of Defense, require them to inventory nuclear systems at risk, and develop and implement a strategy for meeting the recommendations of the GAO report.

The Working Group would be required to brief the Congress within 120 days of the enactment of the proposed language, and submit a completed strategy to the Armed Services committees by April 1, 2025.

The text of the proposal can be found here.

The GAO report can be found here.


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