Washington, D.C. – Five amendments to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) offered by Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) passed the House on Monday evening. The five amendments, which passed the House en bloc by a vote of 336-71, are as follows:
Global Health Security Act
Congressman Chabot jointly sponsored a bipartisan amendment with Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia) which essentially added the text of H.R. 2166, the Global Health Security Act, which was introduced by Connolly and Chabot, to the 2021 NDAA. The amendment reaffirms the United States’ commitment to promoting global health security and is crucial to combatting the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Global Health Security Act bolsters U.S. commitments under the Global Health Security Agenda, which is a multilateral initiative to build countries’ capacity to manage infectious disease threats and elevate heath security as a global priority. The amendment also requires the appointment of a permanent official, who shall be responsible for coordinating these efforts and commitments in a strategic way.
“The Global Health Security Act provides a critical bipartisan endorsement to prioritize the U.S. government’s response to epidemics like the coronavirus,” said Chabot. “We need to take this opportunity to recommit to leadership on health security, as well as prepare ourselves for the next pandemic. Protecting our nation’s health must be seen as a national security priority.”
CHEST and Cyber Security Best Practices
Chabot is also joined by Congressman Mike Turner (R-Dayton) and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland) on a bipartisan amendment to help bolster cyber security efforts nationwide. Specifically, the amendment would provide $3 million for the National Center for Hardware and Embedded Systems Security and Trust (CHEST), a cyber security consortium led by the University of Cincinnati in partnership with several other national universities and in conjunction with the Department of Defense.
The funds provided by the amendment will help to ensure that CHEST can continue its efforts to establish whole-of-government and whole-of-nation cyber security best practices. Many experts in both the public and private sector warn that the United States is losing ground in critical innovations. Without this amendment, many fear that the U.S. will fail to ensure cyber security hardware and strategic systems are established and coordinated in a manner that provides the training and education needed today and in the future.
“Cyber security is one of the greatest challenges to our national security that we face in the 21st Century,” said Chabot. “Just last week, we learned about Russian efforts to steal COVID-19 vaccine research from the U.S., the U.K. and Canada, and Twitter suffered a major attack in which a massive number of accounts were compromised, including those of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Bill Gates. As a nation, we must coordinate our efforts to protect our vital technological infrastructure against these intrusive hacking operations. This amendment is a major step in the right direction, and will help to develop and disseminate the best tools and practices possible through the work of the National Center for Hardware and Embedded Systems Security and Trust. We are particularly fortunate here in Cincinnati to have prominent experts in the field at the University of Cincinnati, leading the way to stronger, more resilient cyber security systems.”
China Cyber Strategy
Further, Chabot proposed an amendment that instructs the President to develop a government-wide strategy to impose consequences on China for its brazen cyber-theft of untold sums worth of intellectual property and the personal information of millions of Americans. Some of China’s most noteworthy cyber attacks include stealing the plans for the F-35 fighter jet, hacking the Office of Personnel Management to steal millions of federal employees’ information and, most recently, unsuccessfully targeting our medical community to access our coronavirus research.
“For too long, China has hacked our companies and stolen our data with impunity,” said Chabot. “This strategy adds an offensive component to the good work that is being done on cyber security. China must be made to think twice before they try to attack us, and must realize that there will be consequences for this unlawful behavior.”
Supporting India Against China’s Territorial Aggression
Chabot is also joined by Congressman Ami Bera (D-California) on a bipartisan amendment that states Congress’ opposition to Chinese aggression against India in the Galwan Valley on the India-China border, and expresses Congress’ concern toward the growing territorial assertiveness of the People’s Republic of China. China has used the distraction of the coronavirus to attempt to seize territory belonging to India, as well as to press its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
“India is a critical, democratic partner in the Indo-Pacific,” said Chabot. “I am a strong supporter of our bilateral relationship, and I stand with India, and all our partners in the region, as they confront China’s hostile acts of aggression. I am proud to be joined by Congressman Ami Bera, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, to bring this important amendment to the floor in a bipartisan manner.”
Accounting for Internally Displaced Persons in Former USSR Countries
Lastly, Chabot is joined by Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) on a bipartisan amendment requiring the State Department to report on internal displacement and killings of citizens in illegally occupied territories of Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova. Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. It has long maintained troops in Transnistria, a breakaway province of Moldova. Armenia occupies Nagorno-Karabagh, which is recognized by the international community as part of Azerbaijan.
“Vladimir Putin never accepted the fall of the Soviet Union and has steadily worked to bring his freedom-loving neighbors under his control,” said Chabot. “That’s why I have long worked to roll back his seizure of Crimean and his invasions of eastern Ukraine and Georgia. This amendment will show the world the civilian impact that his troops are having on our partners in Eastern Europe.”