DOD, DHS working on one-two punch for cybersecurity

Pentagon and Homeland Security Department formalize joint operations to secure U.S. critical infrastructure

The Defense and Homeland Security departments have launched an initiative to share analysts and coordinate their cyber operations. In a joint statement co-signed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the two departments announced that they will immediately formalize joint processes to protect national infrastructure and computer networks, as well as clearly delineate their respective roles and responsibilities.

A key part of the agreement calls for Pentagon cyber analysts to be embedded in DHS to better support the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center. The agreement also calls for the establishment of a director of cybersecurity coordination within DHS who will work closely with the National Security Agency. Supporting this senior DHS official will be a team of department privacy, civil liberties and legal personnel.

Among the roles and responsibilities delineated in the memorandum, the office of DHS' director of cybersecurity coordination will be located at the NSA but will not be a part of that agency’s command chain. The director will also serve as the DHS senior cybersecurity representative to the U.S. Cyber Command.


Related stories:

U.S. understanding of cyber war still immature, says former NSA director

The 7 people who can restart the Internet


DHS and NSA personnel will work at each other’s respective organizations as part of a joint coordination element and perform functions such as joint operational planning, coordination, requirement translation and mission support. DHS personnel will also be assigned to work at the NSA Directorate of Acquisition for collaborative acquisition and technology development and at the NSA/Central Security Services Threat Operations Center.

DHS staff from the Office of the General Council, Privacy Office, and the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will support the DHS director for cybersecurity coordination at the NSA and coordinate with DOD counterparts at the Cyber Command.

The NSA will also designate its own official to lead its team of analysts in the joint coordination element. That agency officer will coordinate and work with the DHS cybersecurity coordination director. The NSA will also collocate a cryptographic services group at the NCCIC to support DHS cybersecurity operations and the National Cyber Incident Response Plan.

“This structure is designed to put the full weight of our combined capabilities and expertise behind every action taken to protect our vital cyber networks, without altering the authorities or oversight of our separate but complementary missions,” the DOD-DHS joint statement reads.

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.