Analysis & Opinions - Lawfare

Decoding the 2017 NDAA's Provisions on DoD Cyber Operations

| Jan. 30, 2017


"Thanks to the at-times breathless coverage of the Obama Administration’s deliberations on cyber warfare policy and organization (and now the Trump Administration’s tweets and early proposals), it can be easy to forget that Congress can exert significant power when it comes to the roles, responsibilities, and authorities of executive branch agencies, including the different components of the military. In the most recent legislation authorizing the activities of the Department of Defense, Congress was particularly proactive in its approach to military cyber operations. Provisions of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), recently signed into law, will affect how the military organizes for and conducts cyber operations, in ways large and small. In this post, we examine some of the most important provisions that the Trump Administration must grapple with during its first year in office. 

Creating a Unified Command for Cyber Operations. Most importantly, Congress finally settled the “will they or wont they” debate regarding whether U.S. Cyber Command should be “elevated” to a unified combatant command from its current status as a sub-unified or subordinate command under U.S. Strategic Command..."

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For Academic Citation: Sulmeyer, Michael and Charley Snyder.“Decoding the 2017 NDAA's Provisions on DoD Cyber Operations.” Lawfare, January 30, 2017.