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Floor Statement on Intelligence Authorization

Feb 25, 2010
Floor Statement
Madam Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 2701, an authorization bill that gives the Intelligence Community the tools it needs to keep America safe.  This bill sets politics aside and does what’s best for national security. 
I would like to focus on two of this bill’s most important provisions.  
The bill makes significant investments in a variety of critical cybersecurity programs, a need highlighted by the repeated attacks on the information technology systems of the federal government and private industry over the past year.  
As cyber threats evolve and intensify, our Intelligence Community must be able to respond quickly and with the latest technologies available.  The National Security Agency – which I’m proud to say is in my district – has developed a number of technologies that are already helping protect us against these threats.  
We should all be very proud of the efforts made by the extremely talented workforce at NSA.  But we need to ensure that NSA and other Intelligence agencies have the resources they need to develop and deploy the defenses that will keep our networks running and our information secure.  This bill helps do that.
Second, this bill makes important investments in space.  It supports the President’s request to develop a new imagery capability. In addition, it supports the Senate’s proposal, which we must start funding to continue building upon known capabilities.
These are critical investments, and we are prepared to see them through.  We must keep major space acquisitions on budget and on schedule.  We do not have unlimited resources and cannot afford to have these critical acquisitions spin out of control.
I am also pleased that the bill encourages the DNI and the Director of the NRO to leverage commercial capabilities to the fullest extent possible.  
Commercial tools have significantly improved in recent years.  Using these capabilities to complement government efforts will not only provide a cost-effective way of meeting our needs, it will support the revitalization of the long-struggling commercial space industry.  We will not reclaim our dominance in Space through government efforts alone; we need to reassert our role in private markets as well.
I encourage my colleagues to support this bill.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for all of your hard work, and I yield back the remainder of my time.