Defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal, includes White House cyber czar position

The defense policy bill Congress plans to pass this month now includes language that would create a national cyber director at the White House, Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) confirmed to The Hill on Thursday.

The cyber czar would be responsible for coordinating federal cybersecurity priorities and would be a Senate-confirmed post.

The provision creating the top post is part of the conference report consolidating the House and Senate versions of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Language establishing the position was included in the House-passed version of the NDAA, but the version approved by the Senate only included a clause requiring an “independent assessment” of the “feasibility” of establishing the role.

With its inclusion in the conference report, which is set to be rolled out Thursday, the provision will almost certainly be included in the measure sent to President Trump for his signature after it’s passed by Congress.

Langevin, who introduced standalone legislation to create the position earlier this year, credited inclusion of the provision to strong bipartisan support for creating the post.

He praised the efforts of Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), the co-chairs of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission that recommended the creation of the position to help combat against cyber threats to the U.S.

Langevin also noted that Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s cybersecurity subcommittee, and House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), were also heavily involved in the position’s creation, with both panels holding hearings on the topic earlier this year.