Acting Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee today he is concerned about the impact of potential continuing budget resolutions on the military’s cybersecurity posture.

Testifying at a hearing on his nomination to become the permanent Secretary of Defense, Esper urged Congress to reconcile differences in the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) before current funding for the Pentagon runs out on September 30.

Esper, who was named acting Secretary of Defense in June, said that inconsistent and unpredictable funding can have a compounding effect on technology for the Department of Defense (DoD).

“A CR prohibits new starts and we’re stuck funding legacy technology and legacy equipment,” Esper said during the hearing. When asked on a scale of 1-10 how important it was for Congress to get the NDAA wrapped up on time, Esper responded with a stern “11.”

Esper also faced questions regarding the modernization of technologies for the department, his history as a Raytheon lobbyist, and his experience as Secretary of the Army. The nominee said it was important to improve U.S. capabilities in cyberspace, and treat the area as a new domain of warfare.

On July 12, the House passed its version of the NDAA along party lines, 220-197, with $733 billion in authorized spending, compared to the Senate’s $750 billion in authorized spending.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.