• The National Defense Authorization Act Puts America’s National Security at Risk

    This week the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and it contains one little noticed provision that is big deal. So big in fact that will severely impact our national security.

    The NDAA contains almost $700 billion in authorizations in discretionary funding for the next year. The Trump Administration objected to many provisions in the bill, including the $4.4 billion in reduction in authorizations of overseas operations. With many of the fights over the top line numbers and Defense Department policies, a provision that may dramatically hurt the ability of the Pentagon to contract with private tech companies was overlooked.

    Current law protects privately developed source codes for tech companies, yet Sections 881 through 886 of the NDAA in the Senate would flip that policy in reverse and make these codes open source.  This is a holdover policy of the Obama Administration that created two government agencies to insource technology development and deployment. Open source mandates on companies would forward the goal of many Obama hold overs who want to convert the open source policy into law.

    Safeguarding the intellectual property of private companies is very important to Americans.  Private property rights lead to innovation. Innovation leads to a higher standard of living and the creation of jobs. When the government confiscates private intellectual property, those values are ignored. This change in policy would violate the traditional relationship between contractors and the government.

    Why would a company want to work with the government if they are not allowed to benefit from their hard work? That benefit is what drives the creativity of our private companies. That drive is what makes America great.

    This radical change in policy would diminish the talent and technology used by the Pentagon thereby hurting national security. We need cutting edge technology to keep America safe. If adopted, this new policy would change procurement in a way that would expand government development of software with open source exposure of the technology. Private tech companies would stop contracting with the Pentagon. This would lead to inferior technology developed more slowly that would hurt national security.

    As if the Open Source issue wasn’t bad enough, the NDAA takes it a step further and attempts to centralize all software in a government controlled database. This is a national security threat paramount to the days right before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The fact that this has Senator McCain’s name on it is all the more strange. McCain has prided himself on being a national security hawk, but he should know better than to bring our entire fleet into one single harbor. Foreign hackers will seize the opportunity if we put all of our top-secret tech in one database.

    Some have pointed out that the blame for this controversial provision being added to the bill can be placed firmly on the shoulders of liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). America’s competitors and enemies like Russia and Iran would have an easier time engaging in hacking of government computers if she gets her way.

    It’s time to protect our companies and encourage our American genius by getting rid of holdover open sourcing rules from the Obama Administration. National security needs to be taken seriously enough to protect that new technology from the countries who would attack us via cyberwarfare. The NDAA provision making that easier must go when the House and Senate come together to negotiate over differences in the bills passed by each chamber.   Thankfully, the House version did not contain this harmful provision.

    The time for playing politics is over. America must come first if we are ever going to be great again.

    S.C. Sherman

    Senior Editor

    Steve Sherman is an author, popular radio commentator, and former Iowa House candidate. His articles have appeared nationally in both print and online for Townhall, Human Events, Clash Daily, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Red Alert Politics, Forbes, NRATV and others. All of his novels including his most recent tome, Lone Wolf Canyon, a modern day western that infuriates the left and all "Snowflakes," are available here.

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