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.


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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.

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Reader comments

Tue, Oct 26, 2010

I don't see anything getting getting done other than someone getting promoted. Wasn't cyber command in charge of this effort?

Tue, Oct 19, 2010

It would help if an organization diagram was drawn to help explain the relationships.

Tue, Oct 19, 2010

Bull.. NSA will run and control this entire effort.

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