President Joe Biden on Friday signed into law a US cyber defense policy bill that grants $858 billion, along with more powers – and responsibilities – to the US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM).
The White House he said the National Defense Authorization Act in a press release.
The measure authorizes an additional $44 million for Cyber Command's "hunt forward" missions. Since 2018, the digital warfare unit has conducted several such missions, 38 in number, to 21 foreign countries to uncover malware and other vulnerabilities in more than 60 networks.
The bill states that if the president determines that there is an "active, systematic, and sustained campaign of cyberattacks by a foreign power" against the U.S. government or a critical infrastructure of the country, CYBERCOM would be able to conduct offensive operations, with presidential approval .
The legislation, which outlines military spending and new policy priorities annually, requires the defense secretary to report annually to congressional lawmakers on the relationship between CYBERCOM and the National Security Agency (NSA).
It would also require a biennial report for the 2032 election cycle on election security efforts.
The bipartisan bill creates one assistant secretary for cyber policy at the Pentagon.
Biden said the cybersecurity section of the bill is "designed to ensure that Congress has information about cybersecurity and counterintelligence threats" when they concern Congress itself.