[ISN] Bill would magnify cybersecurity in DHS

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Wed Sep 15 01:59:16 EDT 2004

Forwarded from: William Knowles <wk at c4i.org>


By Dibya Sarkar 
Sep. 14, 2004

House lawmakers introduced two homeland security bills, one that would
create an assistant secretary position within the Homeland Security
Department to oversee cybersecurity and another that would enhance
science and technology.

Reps. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the Homeland Security
Select Committee's Cybersecurity, Science and Research and Development
Subcommittee, and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the subcommittee's ranking
member, are prime sponsors of both bills, which were introduced Sept.  

The Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of
2004 would elevate the position of cybersecurity director to assistant
secretary within the Information Analysis and Infrastructure
Protection directorate. DHS has a cybersecurity division led by
director Amit Yoran.

In effect, the bill would give cybersecurity a bigger spotlight within
the department. The assistant secretary would be in a better position
to coordinate and influence cybersecurity across different agencies
and functions.

Under the bill, the assistant secretary's responsibilities would
essentially remain the same except for the addition of primary
authority of the National Communications System. The move is designed
to treat the missions and operations of telecommunications and
information technology as one comprehensive mission.

The NCS, which was transferred from the Defense Department to the
Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection directorate last
year, is an interagency group with representatives from 23 federal
departments and agencies. The group coordinates and plans for national
security and emergency communications for the federal government
during crises.

The third component of the bill would be to define cybersecurity to
reflect the convergence of emerging technologies, particularly with IT
and telecommunications.

The lawmakers' second bill, the Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Enhancement Act, would outline a number of
proposals, such as directing the secretary to assess development of
science and technology capabilities to address basic scientific
research needs; authorizing the secretary to partner with foreign
governments, such as Israel and the United Kingdom; identifying
geospatial needs; and commercializing technologies.

The bill also proposes to expand an existing National Science
Foundation program to encourage higher education institutions,
including community colleges, to develop cybersecurity professional
development programs and expand or establish associate program
degrees. The program would include money for equipment, such as
creating hands-on virtual laboratories for cybersecurity specialists.  
The bill proposes $3.7 million for the program next year.

"Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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