Washington, DC – Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) delivered the following opening statement at a Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems hearing regarding the Department of Defense Science and Technology Strategy, Policy, and Programs for Fiscal Year 2022.
Rep. Gallagher’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to General Nakasone and Ms. Eoyang for being here today.
Cyberspace is the ultimate gray-zone domain, in which operations do not fit neatly into traditional, kinetic war fighting. Adversaries like China and Russia, as well as non-state actors, are continuously probing our networks and exploiting our vulnerabilities in cyberspace.
The range of cyber operations are a threat to the U.S. government, commercial industry, and everyday American citizens. Whether it be cyber-hacking to steal intellectual property, personal information and data, or ransomware attacks to hold networks hostage, cyber actors are not concentrated just in the military realm. Just last week, Russian cyber actors shut down a major U.S. pipeline, highlighting the cyber threat posed to our critical infrastructure from actors anywhere in the world.
In the military domain, the cyber threats and capabilities of our adversaries are equally concerning.
As we have been told over the years, war with a near-peer adversary will likely begin not on the ground, but in space and cyberspace. The ability of our adversaries to employ cyber operations to disrupt our command, control and communication systems would be debilitating to our forces in a high-end kinetic fight. Similarly, as global competition is increasingly based on human-centric networks, our adversaries are engaged in persistent information operations through the cyber domain to influence and shape the operating environment.
Our cyber adversaries are diffuse and evolving and have proved time and again that our cyber networks are only as strong as the weakest link. However, our cyber operations and capabilities have also evolved, in large part due to the work of this subcommittee, and the leadership of General Nakasone at US Cyber Command.
As we continue to harden our networks and improve our capabilities, the President’s budget must focus on modernizing DoD’s platforms. We must consider cutting legacy platforms out of date for modern conflict, and investing in emerging technologies and cyber. I believe I speak for everyone here when I say I hope to see a budget that recognizes the importance of our cyber mission force, invests in necessary cyber infrastructure—including technology and human capital, highlights necessary cyber authorities, and pushes the Department out of its silos and into a streamlined structure that prioritizes cyber agility and responsiveness. Our cyber mission force has also matured, but we must continue to identify cyber talent, and train, equip, and support our cyber force to improve our capabilities across the cyber continuum and maintain superiority over hostile cyber actors.
We took pivotal steps in this direction in last year’s NDAA, and we will continue to make progress towards our cyber goals again this year. But the fundamental shift in thinking about cyber will take more than just directives in the NDAA; it will require leaders at DoD and throughout the government to think strategically and acknowledge that cyber is now the critical domain to every facet of our national security.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today, and I yield back.
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