The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee has created a new standing subcommittee on cybersecurity and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will be the ranking Democrat to help lead it.

Little else is determined at this point. U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, chair of the Armed Service Committee, announced the panel’s creation Wednesday afternoon and appointed U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican, as chairman. Nelson, Florida’s Democratic senator, was appointed as ranking member.

The rest of the committee will be filled out and its purposes and schedule set as Rounds and Nelson work that out.

Nelson, a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, noted, in a news release, that the new subcommittee is being formed in the wake of Russia’s alleged cyber interference in the 2016 presidential campaigns.

In addition to ensuring the proper policies, strategies and resources are in place to defend the country in cyberspace, the new subcommittee will hold the administration accountable if they fail to adequately respond to a future attack,” Nelson stated.

“You can’t just sit on your hands and do nothing,” Nelson said. “If we’re going to deter our enemies from attacking us, we have to make it painfully obvious that the consequences are going to be so severe that they won’t want to do it in the first place.”

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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