Nominee: DHS won't lose cybersecurity authority

Rand Beers says new White House cybersecurity coordinator will not undercut DHS

Rand Beers, the nominee for undersecretary of the Homeland Security Department’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), testified today that Obama administration officials told him the White House’s new cybersecurity coordinator will not undercut DHS’ role.

“There was no realignment of roles and missions of the department, and it is the view in the White House that the Department of Homeland Security will continue to play an absolutely essential role in the protection of America’s cyber infrastructure,” Beers told the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

He was responding to a question during his confirmation hearing about whether the new White House cybersecurity coordinator would diminish DHS’ role. NPPD oversees the department’s cybersecurity programs.

President Barack Obama said May 29 that he would create the cybersecurity coordinator position at the White House. The announcement came after months of speculation about whether Obama would take that action.

Beers also said his understanding was that the White House cybersecurity coordinator would have no operational role but instead would coordinate cybersecurity efforts. He added that he thought it was logical for DHS to retain responsibility for protecting civilian networks.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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