The Secretary of Defense would be required to notify congressional committees of any sensitive military cyber operations and cyber weapons launched under bipartisan legislation drafted by members of the House of Representatives.
H.R. 2807 calls for the Pentagon to alert Congress within 48 hours following an operation. If passed, the law would apply to both offensive and defensive operations carried out by the armed forces or by a foreign partner in coordination with the armed forces outside areas where the U.S. is actively engaged in hostilities.
Approved training and covert operations would be exempt.
In regards to cyber weapons, DoD officials would have the same 48-hour window to report cyber capabilities to congressional oversight committees to confirm their approval for use under international law by a military department.
"While there are programs that must necessarily remain classified to keep the country safe, Congress still has a responsibility to conduct appropriate oversight in order to protect our security and our essential freedoms at the same time," said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the Commission on Armed Services. "This proposal to enhance congressional oversight of sensitive military cyber operations and cyber weapons will help achieve that balance by promoting greater transparency and accountability for some of the most classified elements of our national defense."
The bill was introduced by Thornberry; Commission on Armed Services Ranking Member Adam Smith, D-Wash.; Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-NY; and Ranking Member James Langevin, D-RI, of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.