By Otto Kreisher
WASHINGTON (May 13, 2010) -- The House Armed Services Terrorism and Unconventional Threats Subcommittee on Thursday unanimously approved its share of the FY11 defense authorization, adding funds and program initiatives to bolster the Special Operations Command and cybersecurity.
The subcommittee's mark would authorize about $27 billion, although some of the funds are for programs in which other panels share jurisdiction, the committee staff director said.
Terrorism and Unconventional Treats Subcommittee chairwoman Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., and ranking member Jeff Miller, R-Fla., praised the panel's part of the authorization bill (H.R. 5136) as a bipartisan product that addresses some of the critical issues facing the nation.
It was approved and referred favorably to the full House Armed Services Committee on unanimous voice votes.
The subcommittee proposed adding $205 million to cover the Special Operations Command's unfunded requirements, bring the total authorization for the command to just over $10 billion. Most of the added funds were placed in programmatic accounts that would allow SOCOM to apply the money to its most urgent needs, which would allow quicker responses, staff members said.
The panel also added more than $20 million to cybersecurity programs, most of which went into research for near-term and long-range solutions to the use of the Internet and other "new media" to spread radical messages and recruit potential terrorists.
Sanchez said the authorization contained directives to the defense secretary "to develop new strategies to counter irregular warfare challenges," including greater application of science and technology.
This was an acknowledgement that "we cannot kill our way out of this struggle against violent extremists," Sanchez said.
Miller also cited the increased funding for "social science research" and "in-depth oversight of the human terrain system."
While praising the panel's work, Miller said he saw several areas "that will require further oversight efforts and bipartisan work." Those included more effort on managing the cybersecurity risks and making improvement in "strategic communications," including countering the use of the media against U.S. interests.
Miller also saw a need to address the threat of weapons of mass destruction proliferation and to determine how to maintain a balance between fighting the current conflicts and preparing for future threat in a time of constrained budgets.
The full committee is expected to take up the bill May 19 with the hope of having it on the House floor before the Memorial Day recess.