Defense bill could be big news for cyber

The Senate is eyeing the annual defense bill as a vehicle to attach critical provisions to improve the nation’s cybersecurity following a devastating year in which major attacks left the government flat-footed.

The efforts are markedly bipartisan, a rarity for a Senate that is struggling to accomplish a long legislative to-do list before the holidays.

“It’s a national security issue, really,” Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee ranking member Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told reporters Tuesday in regards to the inclusion of cybersecurity priorities in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Language around requiring critical organizations to report cyber incidents to the federal government, and timelines for doing so, has been a key issue hotly debated in recent months.