DHS centralizes cybersecurity programs

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano explained how DHS is coordinating cybersecurity programs across the department

The Homeland Security Department has centralized its cybersecurity programs under the department’s deputy undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently wrote in a message posted on DHS’ Web site.

DHS announced June 1 that as part of his role as NPPD undersecretary. Philip Reitinger would also lead DHS’ National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) – an organization designed to improve cybersecurity coordination across the government's civilian, military and intelligence cyber domains. In her blog post, Napolitano also said Reitinger would coordinate cybersecurity efforts across the department, including the NCSC and the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

The Bush administration gave DHS a major role in federal cybersecurity efforts, putting the department in charge of protecting the government’s .gov domain and working with the private sector to secure the country’s communication’s infrastructure.

Some observers have criticizd the department's performance thus far, but President Barack Obama and appropriators in the House and Senate have indicated they plan for DHS to continue those programs.

The Obama administration requested $400.7 million for DHS’ cybersecurity programs in fiscal 2010, compared with the $313.5 million DHS got this year. Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee approved $382 million for fiscal 2010, and the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 18 approved a bill that would give DHS $398.7 million for the programs.

“Of all the threats America faces, the integrity of our cyber infrastructure demands special attention. These are no longer emerging threats. They are with us now, and are happening every day,” Napolitano wrote June 18 in DHS’ "Leadership Journal."

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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