Winter Park Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy is introducing two bills aimed at addressing international security concerns with North Korea and the Asian-Pacific theater.
Her bills, which she discussed Wednesday in a committee hearing and again on the floor of the House of Representatives, would require the U.S. intelligence and diplomatic agencies to set up special units to deal with both areas.
One bill, the “North Korea Intelligence Enhancement Act,” would require the director of national intelligence to create a North Korea-focused integration cell, consisting of experts who would streamline, synthesize and synchronize intelligence on North Korea so that U.S. policymakers have the best information possible upon which to base decisions.
The other, the “Asia-Pacific Defense Commission Act,” would create a commission of U.S. security officials and their counterparts from allies to ensure stability of the Asia-Pacific region, by working on issues ranging from terrorist networks to international intelligence coordination, and from cyber-security to free navigation of international waters.
Murphy is a former U.S. Defense Department national security analyst who now sits on the House Armed Services Committee.
Neither bill has been assigned a number yet. Murphy discussed them both during an Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday with Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Navy Admiral Harry B. Harris, and then again Wednesday on the House floor,
“North Korea is a difficult intelligence target. It is a secretive society where dissent is severely punished. This makes the recruitment of human sources inside the country very challenging. Moreover, high-level defectors from North Korea with intelligence about the regime are rare,” Murphy said on the House floor.
The unit her bill would seek to create, “would seek to ensure that the U.S. government is collecting intelligence on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, missile programs, weapon sales, and other activities that violate U.N. sanctions,” she continued. “The cell would also work to make certain that this intelligence is efficiently disseminated to the appropriate national security policymakers so it can inform decision-making.”
She also discussed both economic opportunities and security challenges involving the 40 countries of the broader Asia-Pacific region that have 60 percent of the world population. She cited “senior American officials” as describing the area as “the most consequential region for the future of our country.”
“I think you may agree that the strengths of our relationships in the region come from trust, credibility and across time,” Murphy told Harris in the committee hearing. “These measures are meant to send a clear signal both to our allies and our adversaries that the U.S. is committed to the Asia-Pacific region in a credible and enduring manner.”