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Rounds Secures South Dakota Victories in Senate NDAA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and ranking Republican member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24). The FY24 NDAA overwhelmingly passed with a vote of 86-11.

“The NDAA is a critical piece of legislation that provides for our national security and supports our service members and their families,” said Rounds. “While we were able to include many victories for South Dakota in the committee version of this bill, we were also able to secure many important victories through the amendment process on the Senate floor. This includes my legislation that bans China, Russia, North Korea and Iran from purchasing American farmland and agricultural businesses, as well as legislation I’ve led for years that would create a congressional charter for the National American Indian Veterans. Additionally, the bill contains over $400 million in funding for construction projects in South Dakota. Most of this funding will support preparations for the bed down of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber at Ellsworth Air Force Base. As the ranking Republican member of the Cybersecurity Subcommittee, I am also proud of our work to strengthen our nation’s cyber capabilities and develop advanced technology to combat threats from our near-peer adversaries, the People’s Republic of China and Russia.”

This is the ninth NDAA that Rounds has helped craft as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In last year’s bill, Rounds authored more than 45 provisions, which were ultimately adopted and signed into law. Earlier this year, Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia’s Center for Effective Lawmaking named Rounds as the second most effective Republican on Defense issues.

Rounds Secured Victories on Senate Floor

  • Requires the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer (CDAO) of the Department of Defense (DOD) to undertake an AI related vulnerability analysis.
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to provide a report on ways to improve data sharing and interoperability across the Department of Defense.
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to establish an AI bug bounty program.
  • Directs the National Archives and Records Administration to create a collection of records relating to Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena and direct the government to identify which records would fall into the collection.
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to provide an annual review until 2029 on the status of the implementation plan for digital engineering career tracks that was required by the FY20 NDAA.
  • Requires the Director of National Intelligence to conduct an assessment on the top five technologies that originate in the United States with regard to the risk of their use by foreign adversaries.
  • Adjusts the threshold amount for minor medical facility construction projects of the Department of Veterans Affairs from $20 million to $30 million.
  • Makes improvements relating to cyber protection support for DOD personnel in positions highly vulnerable to cyberattack, and requires a study on how effective the existing protections are for DOD personnel and their families.
  • Updates the authorities and organization of the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer (CDAO) and reorganizes the CDAO Governing Council.

Major Rounds-Supported South Dakota Victories:

  • Authorizes $395 million for construction projects at Ellsworth Air Force Base, including $160 million for B-21 Phase Hangar, $160 million for B-21 Weapons generation facility and $75 million for B-21 Fuel System Maintenance Dock.
  • Authorizes $2.325 billion for B-21 procurement.
  • Authorizes $66.8 million for the Long Range Standoff Weapon, which will enable the B-21 to provide even better conventional and nuclear deterrence in a contested environment.
  • Includes $5.25 million in funding to complete the construction of the National Guard Readiness Center in Sioux Falls.
  • Promotes the use and funding of “cold spray” technology for maintenance, repair and overhaul to increase the service life of aging systems, provided exclusively by a South Dakota company using a technology developed at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Rounds-Supported Cybersecurity Victories:

  • Authorizes the DOD to conduct cyber operations against a range of Mexican transnational criminal organizations, drug cartels chief among them, and requires a related strategy on how to counter them.
  • Requires the development of a regional cybersecurity strategy to support the operations of each geographic combatant command.
  • Requires the establishment of a dedicated cyber intelligence capability to support the entire joint force for information sharing on cyber threat actors’ technology developments, capabilities, operations and intentions.
  • Directs AI and machine learning tools to better employ narrative intelligence technology in order to monitor and assess information campaigns by delivering comprehensive analysis of narrative themes, language and information patterns.
  • Requires the tracking of results of sharing cyber capabilities and related information with foreign operational partners.
  • Requires a modernization program for network boundary and cross-domain defense against cyber attacks.
  • Directs the DOD to support institutions of higher education on cyber workforce education and development efforts in the fields of cybersecurity, intelligence, data science, information security management and quantum information science.
    • Further directs the services to partner with universities to increase learning opportunities for DOD personnel awaiting assignment by providing hands-on cyber operations experience, training opportunities and access to courses to assist transition into the DOD cyber field.
  • Directs a briefing on the National Security Agency Cyber Collaboration pilot program, including an analysis of the program’s effectiveness and a plan to expand coverage for up to 10,000 defense industrial base entities.
  • Directs a mission assurance program to acquire and maintain all-domain awareness of threats posed to defense critical infrastructure.
  • Directs an independent assessment of creating a Cyber Force or further evolving the existing force development and management model.
  • Requires a prize competition to evaluate technology, including applications, tools and models, for the detection and watermarking of generative AI.

Other Rounds-Supported Victories in the NDAA:

  • Provides a 5.2 percent pay raise for both military service members and DOD civilian workforce.
  • Includes provisions, which help preserve the performance-based warfighting ethos of the military and stop the toxic, so-called “equity” agenda at DOD at its source.
  • Mandates a full accounting of the cost and content of previously opaque and unaccountable programming across DOD’s Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and making certain senior defense officials are not required to take time and effort promoting these toxic policies.


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