Senate Intel Committee Unanimously Passes Intelligence Authorization Act
Today, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence approved the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, and 2020 on a unanimous and bipartisan 15-0 vote.
The bill authorizes funding and enables comprehensive, Congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). It is named for two dedicated staff members on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Damon Nelson and Matt Pollard, who passed away last year.
“I’m proud the Senate Intelligence Committee has once again passed a strong, bipartisan Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA),” said Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC). “This legislation is vital for countering the growing threats posed by hostile foreign actors, including Russia, China, and Iran, and for strengthening our nation’s election security. It also invests in the future of the Intelligence Community by improving personnel retention and recruitment, ensuring we have the best and brightest working to keep America safe. The men and women of the IC bear a weighty responsibility. They need the right resources and proper oversight to carry out their jobs effectively. This year’s IAA provides that, and I look forward to it becoming law.”
“The Senate Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan annual authorization bill ensures the women and men of our intelligence agencies have the resources they need to do their jobs protecting our country,” Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) said. “I am especially happy that this year’s bill contains a provision that will provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave to IC personnel, including adoptive and foster parents, matching what many private sector companies are already providing. I am also proud of the numerous 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tackling the technological threats from China as the U.S. and other nations move to 5G communications, revamping our outdated security clearance process, and enabling the IC to exchange talent with the private sector.”
The IAA for Fiscal Years 2018-2020 represents a bipartisan effort by the Senate Intelligence Committee to authorize the U.S. Intelligence Community’s funding, personnel, and activities, and to ensure continued Congressional oversight of critical programs.
The bill improves our Intelligence Community’s ability to protect and defend our country, including in the following key areas:
- Countering aggression from Russia and other foreign actors by increasing our capabilities to detect Russian activities, including active measures campaigns, illicit financial transactions, and other intelligence activities.
- Securing our elections from foreign meddling by requiring strategic assessments of Russian cyber threats and influence campaigns, and facilitating increased information sharing between state, local, and federal government officials.
- Improving the security clearance process by requiring a plan to reduce the backlog, increase efficiencies, create an interagency information sharing program for positions of trust, and ensure compliance with uniform clearance eligibility procedures within the Federal government.
- 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.
- Enhancing the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s oversight by establishing an effective appeals panel process and enabling consistency among Intelligence Community agencies’ processes and procedures.
- Advancing the Intelligence Community workforce by requiring a plan to implement 12 weeks of paid parental leave for civilian IC personnel, and by establishing a Public-Private Talent Exchange to foster professional experiences and growth.
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