Lawmakers get update on cybersecurity review

Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.), who co-chairs the House Cybersecurity Caucus, said today he expects the Obama administration to develop an inter-agency plan for cybersecurity efforts that will be coordinated at White House’s National Security Council. However, he said he remained unsure of what the exact structure of the government’s cybersecurity effort would be and whether it would involve a new cyber security office within the Executive Office of the President.

Langevin made the comments on a conference call with reporters after the caucus was briefed by Melissa Hathaway, who is running the administration’s 60-day review of cybersecurity programs. That review will result in a series of recommendations for how cybersecurity should be handled and coordinated across agencies, with lawmakers and the private sector.

Currently, different agencies have leading roles in various aspects of cybersecurity. For example, the Homeland Security department is in charge of protecting the government’s civilian networks and its National Cyber Security Center is meant to coordinate efforts between the efforts of the civilian, military and intelligence agencies. Some observers have suggested that the National Security Agency should play a larger role in a cross-government effort.

“The expectations are that this strategy will be coordinated out of the White House,” he said. “Not pre-judging the findings of the 60-day review, but I expect that cybersecurity as we go forward is going to look very much like our counter-proliferation program – that this is going to be an interagency strategy that will be coordinated out of the White House.”

The Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency recommended using non-proliferation efforts as a model for cybersecurity. Langevin, who was also a co-chairman of that commission, said he had not heard anything that would suggest that the recommendations from the 60-day review would be a sharp contrast to CSIS' recommendations.

Today was the bi-partisan caucus’ first meeting. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is the other co-chairman.

The members of the caucus are:

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)
Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas)
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.)
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)
Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Penn.)
Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.)
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.)
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.)
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.)
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.)

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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