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IT and Acquisition Provisions in the Draft FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act

Published: June 22, 2022

Federal Market AnalysisAcquisition ReformArtificial Intelligence/Machine LearningBig DataCybersecurityIntelligenceNational Defense Authorization ActPolicy and Legislation

The draft legislation has cybersecurity and other technology provisions that impact policy, operations, and acquisitions at the Department of Defense.

Each fiscal year (FY) the U.S. Congress drafts, debates and eventually passes a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) covering wide-ranging provisions for the Department of Defense (DoD) and defense-related activities in other federal departments.

Congress usually takes this opportunity to address technology, acquisitions and other contracting policy priorities, and the FY 2023 NDAA is no exception. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have begun markups of their respective draft bills, so we are beginning to see the shape and priorities that each chamber will emphasize in their proposals.

Total Defense Budget Authorization

At this point in the process, the topline Defense budget authorization is still a work-in-progress. According to media accounts, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) is proposing $772B, holding closely to the Biden Administration’s FY 2023 budget. However, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) is authorizing $817B for DoD, an increase of $45B over the Biden request. The increase is intended to hedge against the impacts of the rapid rise in inflation, plus aid Ukraine, replenish weapons sent there, and address priorities that were unfunded in the FY 2023 budget proposal.

For those who are new to the process, it bears noting that the NDAA authorizes the DoD to spend funding, but the bill does not actually provide funding to the department. That must come through the annual DoD appropriations bill that originates from the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Defense, which is customarily working through their appropriations bill in parallel with this authorization bill.

Technology Provisions in the Draft FY 2023 NDAA

Both the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee have released executive summaries of their legislative proposals, although the SASC summary provides a few more funding details than the HASC summary at this point, so provisions in the SASC bill is what will be addressed here.

Select Technology Provisions in the draft Senate FY 2023 NDAA

Underscoring the priorities held by the SASC, their draft bill authorizes the following funding increases: (bolding is added for topical emphasis.)

Cybersecurity

  • $94.4M to accelerate cryptographic modernization in the Air Force
  • $44M to support the U.S. Cyber Command’s (CYBERCOM) Hunt Forward Operations
  • $25M for the Air Force Cyber Resilience for Weapons Systems (CROWS)
  • $20M for Army offensive cyber capabilities development
  • $25M to support cyber consortium seedling funding
  • $20M for the National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence cybersecurity workforce pilot program
  • $20M for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) enhanced non-kinetic/cyber modeling and simulation activities
  • $180M for Cyber Mission Force operational support, including intelligence support to cyberspace operations
  • $23M for the Army red team automation and zero trust architecture initiatives
  • $56.4M for CYBERCOM Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture development
  • $26M for the Navy to transition the More Situational Awareness for Industrial Control Systems (MOSAICS) operational technology Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration program
  • $30M for the continued development of Project Spectrum for small business cybersecurity and foreign investment risk education
  • The bill also authorizes $15M for security enhancements for the Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications Network

Artificial Intelligence

  • $50M for artificial intelligence systems and applications development for CYBERCOM
  • $30M for DARPA to apply artificial intelligence and autonomy technologies for cybersecurity and cyberspace operations challenges
  • $75M for DARPA to execute the recommendations of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence

Big Data

  • $17.8M for the Air Force Big Data Platform program

Information Warfare and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), etc.

  • $245M for Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), including establishment of a Joint Force Headquarters in U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, effects chain and mission-based command and control experimentation, novel kill chain development, and acceleration and integration of the Family of Integrated Targeting Cells.
  • $20M for the DARPA Constellation initiative
  • $19.9M for U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
  • $29.8M for U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) for information dominance enabling capability
  • $20M for DARPA’s Counter-C5ISRT initiative
  • $85M to develop, test, and prototype advanced technology for jamming protection, electronic warfare and signature measurement
  • The bill also authorizes $219.4M for AFRICOM’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and associated production, exploitation, and dissemination support

Other technologies

  • $200M for 5G technology development, experimentation, and transition support, including open radio access network (O-RAN) efforts
  • $20M for DARPA’s utility-scale quantum computing activities
  • $50M for low-cost attritable aircraft technology
  • $70M for national network for microelectronics research and development activities

Non-funded Directives

Cybersecurity

  • Creates a new Assistant Secretaries of Defense for Cyber Policy position
  • Requires development of a strategy for converged cyber and electronic warfare conducted by military and intelligence assets
  • Requires a five-year roadmap and implementation plan for rapidly adopting artificial intelligence applications to the warfighter cyber missions
  • Directs alignment of DoD's cybersecurity cooperation enterprise and operational partnerships with defense strategies and guidance
  • Requires development of a policy and plan on the evaluation of the cybersecurity of commercial cloud service providers
  • Directs a biennial, unclassified report through the 2032 election cycle on CYBERCOM's efforts to ensure election security and counter election threats
  • Establishes the DoD Cyber and Digital Service Academy as a scholarship-for-service program partnered with universities and colleges in the United States, with a DoD service requirement for participants
  • Encourages the Department to leverage its authorities to pay special and incentive pays to recruit and retain cyber personnel with critical skills
  • In addition, there are several provisions which directs DoD to evaluate and plan for sustaining their cyberspace operations forces, Cyber Mission Forces, etc.

Acquisition Reform, Supply Chain, etc.

  • Requires the DoD to institute an acquisition reporting system to replace the Selected Acquisition Reports.
  • Consolidates and harmonizes legislation related to rapid acquisition and urgent operational needs
  • Requires the creation of a small business integration working group to improve coordination of the Department's small business efforts
  • Requires the DoD to track the sourcing of contractor-provided rare earth elements and critical materials with certain national security waivers and periodic reviews of the Department's tracking by the U.S. Comptroller General

Time will tell whether these and other provisions will survive the negotiation and amendment process to make it into the final bill, which over the last decade or more has not usually passed Congress until well after the beginning of the new fiscal year. Progress on the House version of the FY 2023 NDAA may be monitored under H.R. 7900. The Senate has yet to post their bill as of this publication.