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Defense Bill Conference Committee Backs EW, Cyber Strategies

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The committee tasked to harmonize the House and Senate versions of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act has included multiple provisions on cybersecurity and electronic warfare in the NDAA conference report, MeriTalk reported Tuesday.

One provision makes it a matter of national policy to use “offensive cyber capabilities” and “all instruments of national power” when it comes to deterring or responding to cyberattacks aimed at the U.S., while another affirms the Defense Secretary’s authority “to conduct military activities and operations in cyberspace.”

Elsewhere, the report describes a provision prohibiting government agencies from doing business “with an entity that uses telecommunications equipment or services produced by Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation”–a toned-down version of an earlier proposal, which extends the prohibition to private companies.

Although the release of the report marks a milestone in the passage of the defense budget, a harmonized bill would still have to be voted on by the Senate and the House, with the latter expected to do so this week.

The president would then sign the final version into law.

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