Kelly Secures Priorities in Annual Intelligence Bill Passed Out of Committee

This week, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly announced that he secured key national security priorities in the annual intelligence authorization bill that passed out of the Senate Intelligence Committee with his support. The Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) sets annual funding levels, legal authorities, and congressional oversight priorities for the Intelligence Community, which is made up of the U.S. intelligence organizations including the CIA, the NSA, and the intelligence services of the U.S. military branches.   

This year’s IAA includes the following priorities pushed by Kelly:  

  1. TheSecure Smartports Act to protect American ports from Chinese cybersecurity threats.   
  2. The Enabling New Agile Buying-power and Leveraging Enhancements in Intelligence Community (ENABLE IC) Acquisitions Act to streamline acquisition processes and give priority to small business concerns and nontraditional defense contractors.  
  3. An intelligence assessment on the evolving and sophisticated tactics of cartels as part of a series of measures aimed at addressing these criminal organizations, which includes increased intelligence sharing with law enforcement on opioids trafficked from China.    
  4. An unclassified report on the threat of adversaries seeking to learn sensitive U.S. military tactics from former U.S. servicemembers foreign militaries or companies with close ties to adversaries.  

“Every day, professionals in our intelligence community go to great lengths to keep our country safe from terror attacks, cyber incursions, and other threats. This year’s intelligence bill gives them the tools and authorities they need to do their jobs well while also leveraging their expertise to better tackle challenges like the opioid trafficking that is poisoning our communities,” said Kelly.  

The bill’s provisions also focus on the following key areas:  

  1. Increases oversight of the national security threats posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including its attempts to evade sanctions and regulations, military capabilities, and investments in, and attempts to dominate, the supply chains of artificial intelligence (AI), next-generation energy technologies, and biotechnology, among others.  
  2. Enhances sanctions enforcement against terrorist and ransomware organizations and revokes foreign nationals’ visas if they endorse/espouse terrorist activity.   
  3. Enhances policies relating to AI, including by requiring the President to develop procedures to ensure that Federal agencies better engage the private security on AI system-related threats, as well as establishing an AI Security Center within the National Security Agency to advance AI security research.  
  4. Safeguards important voluntary investments in watermarking and content authenticity by generative AI firms by establishing penalties for services that deliberately facilitate removal of those voluntary protections.  
  5. Increases the IC’s focus on the growing threats to the United States by ISIS and affiliated terrorist organizations.   
  6. Promotes reform of the nation’s security classification system, by requiring the President to designate an Executive Agent for Classification and Declassification, improving the system for the classification and declassification of information, and requiring each Federal agency with access to classified information to establish an insider threat program to protect against unauthorized disclosures. Builds upon the Committee’s efforts relating to energy security by requiring a strategy to improve information sharing between the IC and the private sector regarding foreign adversary-based threats to U.S. critical minerals and other energy-related projects abroad.  
  7. Maintains strong congressional oversight of and enhances protections for IC whistleblowers.  
  8. Requires the IC to provide updated assessments of the likely course of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, and of the Israel-Hamas war.  
  9. Ensures continued support to the victims of anomalous health incidents (AHIs or “Havana Syndrome”) by improving funding flexibility for payments to qualified victims.  
  10. Improves oversight related to the Western Hemisphere, specifically when it comes to national security implications of visa-free travel by certain foreign nationals.