Defense and National Security
A strong national defense is necessary to protect our vital national interests, both at home and abroad. Congress must ensure that our nation’s defense and national security programs are both cost-efficient and effective in protecting Americans and American interests.
One of the most significant vulnerabilities to our security today comes in the form of cyberattack by terrorists, rogue nations, hackers and criminal elements. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former FBI Director Robert Mueller have both identified cybersecurity as our country's number one greatest threat. In the 113th Congress, I chaired the Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies. My subcommittee wrote and passed landmark cybersecurity legislation that improves our government's response to cyberattack, eases the sharing of information between the federal government and the private sector about risks, and protects the privacy and liberty of American citizens.
Another prirority of my subcommittee was the safety of our nation's chemical facilities. The explosion of the chimical plant in West, Texas demonstrated just how serious a terrorist attack at one of our thousands of chemical facilities would be. Congress passed a bipartisan reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security's chemical facility safety program (known as CFATS) that strengthens protections, improves the program and makes our chemical facilities.
It is crucial that we continue to identify and understand the nature and gravity of the threat the United States still faces today from foreign and homegrown terrorists. With multiple affiliate networks around the world targeting the U.S. Homeland and interests, we must remain as vigilant as ever. In May 2012, the House adopted HR 2764, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2012, legislation that I authored that will provide guidance to the Department of Homeland Security to disseminate and coordinate intelligence activities related to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats with federal, state, and local security partners.
I also have been examining the emerging threat of Nigerian-based Islamist terror group Boko Haram, a group whose growing sophistican and aggression has been shown by the abduction of hundreds of innocent Nigerian girls last year. I was pleased that the House accepted my bill, HR 5822, the Boko Haram Terrorist Designation Act as an amendment to the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Thanks to our efforts, the Department of State declared Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization, which gives our government enhanced tools to address the threat they pose to American interests.
I remain committed to supporting our troops, and providing them with the best equipment, training, and resources available to ensure their success on the battlefield.