WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on a 86-8 vote, the Senate passed the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, which included the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, and 2020. The legislation was passed last week by the House.
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) released the following statements on the bill’s passage by Congress:
“I applaud the Senate’s passage today of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan authorization legislation as part of our nation’s defense authorization bill,” said Vice Chairman Warner. “The bipartisan intelligence authorization bill ensures that the women and men of our intelligence agencies have the resources they need to do their jobs, as well as robust provisions to improve oversight of our nation’s intelligence functions. I am particularly proud that the NDAA carries a provision providing twelve weeks of paid parental leave for government employees that builds upon the Committee’s original provision providing twelve weeks of paid parental leave to Intelligence Community personnel, including adoptive and foster parents. This provision will help recruit and retain top talent within the IC. I am also pleased that it includes a number of other provisions aimed at deterring foreign influence in our elections, tackling the technological threats from China as the U.S. and other nations move to 5G communications, modernizing our outdated security clearance process, and enabling the IC to exchange talent with the private sector.”
“The men and women of our Intelligence Community work tirelessly to keep our nation safe by naming the threats we face today and preparing for those we may face tomorrow,” said Chairman Burr. “This legislation, which passed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously and cleared the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, is a significant investment in America’s vital interests and national security. It is also an investment in the people who are essential for achieving our strategic goals. The Intelligence Authorization Act deters foreign threats, secures our elections, builds a strong intelligence workforce, and ensures proper Congressional oversight. I am proud to see this bill finally passed by Congress, and look forward to seeing it signed into law.”
The IAA for Fiscal Years 2018-2020 authorizes funding and enables comprehensive, Congressional oversight of the U.S. Intelligence Community. This legislation is named for two dedicated staff members on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Damon Nelson and Matt Pollard, respectively, who passed away last year.
Specifically, the bill improves the Intelligence Community’s ability to defend the United States by:
- Deterring aggression from Russia and other foreign actors by increasing the United States’ capability of detecting malign activities, such as active measure campaigns, illicit financial transactions, and other intelligence activities.
- Securing our elections from foreign interference by requiring strategic assessments of Russian cyber threats and influence campaigns, and facilitating increased information sharing between local, state, and federal government officials.
- Modernizing the security clearance process by requiring plans to reduce the background investigation backlog, capitalizing on technology to improve efficiency, creating an interagency information sharing program for positions of trust, and enhancing the ability of government and industry personnel with active clearances to move between agencies and companies.
- Protecting the U.S. Government technology supply chain by creating a task force within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and improving the procurement process to defend against intrusion and sabotage.
- Bolstering the recruitment and retention of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals by enhancing career path flexibility and benefits for cybersecurity experts working within the Intelligence Community.
- Advancing the Intelligence Community workforce by establishing a Public-Private Talent Exchange to foster professional experiences and growth.
The IAA was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee on a unanimous and bipartisan 15-0 vote on May 14, 2019. The full Senate passed IAA as part of the NDAA on June 27, 2019 on a vote of 86-8.
The full House passed the House Intelligence Committee’s IAA on July 17, 2019, by a vote of 397-31.