Rounds to chair Senate Armed Services cyber subcommittee

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WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 02: The plaza on the east side of the U.S. Capitol is seen August 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives voted 269 to 161 yesterday to pass The Budget Control Act, a bipartisan debt ceiling deal, before going on recess until September. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will work today to gather enough votes for the deal. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Senate Armed Services Committee is having a big leadership shakeup, including naming Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., to take over the gavel of the new Cybersecurity subpanel, which will oversee and legislate policies and programs relating to the Defense Department’s cyber forces and capabilities.

Rounds said he hopes to clarify the Defense Department’s role in responding to and deterring attacks on civilian critical infrastructure, a topic he filed legislation on last year.

“As recent events have shown, the U.S. is not immune to a cyberattack from hostile foreign actors,” Rounds said in a statement. “Even more alarming, our adversaries have determined that the reward outweighs the risk of launching a cyber-attack against our nation.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who SASC Chair John McCain, R-Ariz., initially named to lead Cybersecurity, was not named to chair and SASC subpanels. He is handing the Military Personnel gavel to Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

Graham chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs as well as the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, and he told reporters Tuesday he opted not to seek a waiver he would have needed to chair a third subcommittee.