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H.R. 6237: Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019

Jul 12, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. ET. On Passage of the Bill in the House.

This was a vote to pass H.R. 6237 (115th) in the House. The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations. This is an authorization bill, which directs how federal funds should or should not be used. (It does not set overall spending limits, however, which are the subject of appropriations bills.) Authorizations are typically made for single fiscal years (October 1 through September 30 of the next year) but are often renewed in subsequent law.

H.R. 6237 authorizes appropriations for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the U.S. government for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The bill authorizes funds for the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the: Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Central Intelligence Agency; Department of Defense; Defense Intelligence Agency; National Security Agency; the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force; Coast Guard; Department of State; Department of Treasury; Department of Energy; Department of Justice; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; National Reconnaissance Office; National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; and, the Department of Homeland Security.

The amounts authorized by the bill for these elements for the conduct of intelligence activities are specified in a classified schedule of authorizations and explained in in a classified annex, which are incorporated directly into the legislation through sections 1101 and 2102, respectively. Both the schedule of authorizations and accompanying classified annex have been available for Members to review since the bill was reported on June 28, 2018. H.R. 6237 makes no changes to any surveillance authorities. Select provisions of the unclassified portion of H.R. 6237 are as follows:

Division A (FY18)

As in years past, and to ensure that all IC activities are effective, while protecting the civil liberties of American citizens, the legislation prohibits funding for any intelligence activity that is not authorized by the constitution or federal law.

The legislation permits the Department of State to allow foreign service officers to serve at an overseas post for a period of not more than six consecutive years, as opposed to the current two, to avoid constantly moving officers with significant language and cultural experience. The bill also calls for foreign service officers who receive training in Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Turkish, Korean, and Japanese to serve three consecutive tours in posts requiring that language.

To combat unauthorized disclosures of classified information, the legislation requires all IC agencies to provide the congressional intelligence committees with a semi-annual report of the number of investigations of unauthorized disclosures. Further, the bill requires the IC Inspector General to report within 180 days on the appropriate role of the IG in the instance of unauthorized disclosures.

The legislation requires a number of briefings for congressional intelligence committees regarding:

  • Option for a pilot program to implement best practices for private technology companies to quickly recognize and lawfully remove violent extremist content online
  • Known intelligence collection gaps in the South China Sea
  • Project MAVEN and other efforts to integrate big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning across the full spectrum of military intelligence.
  • The Marine Corps-exposed gap in unmanned aerial systems programs due to pilot and maintainer shortages
  • Remotely piloted aircraft training, wide-area motion imagery intelligence capability; the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system; acceleration of Increment 2 of Warfighter Information Network-Tactical program; and a cost-benefit analysis of upgrades to MQ-9.

The legislation also prohibits authorization of funds from this act to be used to retire any aircraft that would have an effect on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, such as the U-2 or RQ-4, until a suitable replacement is found

Division B (FY19)

The legislation directs the Director of National Intelligence to establish a policy on minimum insider threat standards. Such standards are required for the responsible sharing and safeguarding of classified information on computer networks while ensuring appropriate protections for civil liberties, but several elements of the IC have not fully implemented such policies. The bill encourages each IC element to expeditiously adopt their own policies and implement DNI guidelines.

The legislation creates an Energy Infrastructure Security Center (EISC) within the Department of Energy, which will analyze and distribute intelligence on threats to the energy infrastructure of the country. The EISC will serve as an interagency clearinghouse for information on threats to the country’s energy infrastructure.

The bill authorizes the construction of a third building on the NSA’s East Campus to continue to house of personnel within a shared security perimeter rather than throughout the Baltimore-Washington area.

To ensure the public is aware of items of national importance, consistent with the need to protect national security, the legislation extends by ten years the mandate for the Public Interest Declassification Board. The board is an advisory committee and reviews classified material of interest and makes recommendations to the President and executive branch on what may be released to the public.

The bill also repeals a number of reporting requirements for the IC that have been rendered obsolete. Eliminating reporting requirements that do not serve a current intelligence purpose will better enable the IC to confront the threats facing the country.

Election security is a bipartisan concern, and the bill imposes reporting requirements when there is a significant foreign cyber intrusion in federal elections. The bill requires reporting to congressional leadership and the intelligence committees and would address the identity of the foreign actor and include a discussion of how much information can be released to the public.

Source: Republican Policy Committee


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Yea 87%
Nay 13%
Not Voting

Passed. Simple Majority Required. Source:

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