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WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Trent Kelly (R-MS), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations, delivered the following opening statement at the subcommittee markup for H.R. 4350 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022. The Subcommittee’s mark is available here.
Rep. Kelly’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opening remarks and your leadership in organizing this afternoon’s subcommittee markup. I would like to commend our Members for their efforts and support in putting together this subcommittee markup package in a bipartisan fashion.
Furthermore, I would like to recognize that, as a new entity, this is the first ever markup for this subcommittee. The creation of the intelligence and special operations (ISO) subcommittee emphasizes the importance of this portfolio that oversees areas across counter-terrorism, counter-weapons of mass destruction, intelligence and counter-intelligence, sensitive military operations, and special operations forces. This subcommittee has been laser focused on the oversight and reform of these areas during this Congress; and this subcommittee markup package continues those efforts. 

Throughout our hearings and briefings, we have talked extensively about the malign actions of China and Russia, including a March hearing on “Disinformation in the Gray Zone”.  These aggressive tactics, encompassing offensive actions just below the threshold of armed conflict, are utilized by adversaries like China, Russia, and Iran to discredit and destabilize American interests. A memo signed last year by nine Combatant Commanders emphasized the importance of this issue. Recognizing the need for increased support from the Intelligence Community to combat this threat, they note malicious efforts by Russian and China across the information domain to seed discontent, weaken trust, and undermine alliances. Our markup package continues to push reforms to provide Combatant Commanders the support they need.

As the Afghanistan retrograde activities continue toward completion next month, we must recognize the importance of removing, retaining, and accessing the massive amount of intelligence and operational data compiled over the last two decades of conflict. It is my fear that the so called “over the horizon” capability will not properly maintain security within the region and we will have to redeploy troops. If that comes to fruition, the efficient access to this archived intelligence and operational data will be paramount to our ability to conduct counter-terrorism and stability operations. 

One of the unique characteristics of Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is their ability to rapidly design, prototype, and acquire resources for their unique mission sets. A key enabler to this has been the implementation of the 2020 Pilot Program for Development of Technology-Enhanced Capabilities with Partnership Intermediaries. This pilot program increased small business participation by 200%, reduced contracting time by roughly 80%, and decreased the time from initial award to prototype delivery by 60%. I’m proud our subcommittee mark extends this program through the end of Fiscal Year 2025 and I look forward to seeing its continued success with SOCOM. 

Lastly, I would like to thank the efforts of our great subcommittee support staff. Today’s markup simply would not be possible without the help from our professional staff members – Patrick Nevins, Shannon Green, Jessica Carroll – and our subcommittee clerk, Zach Taylor.

Thank you to our Members and staff for their diligent work thus far and I look forward to continuing to work together to ensure ISO equities are represented during the full committee markup and throughout the NDAA process.

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