Cybersecurity

How close is a cyber executive order?

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano says an executive order on cybersecurity is still under development.

The president still has not seen the executive order on cybersecurity that, If it is issued, will bear his signature, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Oct. 25.

“There’s been work on the EO in light of Congress’ failure to pass legislation this past year, in part because we recognize that given the severity and urgency of the situation. We can’t simply wait if Congress cannot act,” she said. “So there is a draft, it has been circulated but the president has not had the opportunity to review it or make a final decision about it.”

The upcoming election is keeping the president occupied, she said. Napolitano was speaking at an event on diversity in the cybersecurity workforce, produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Napolitano, who previously confirmed acknowledged the ongoing efforts in developing an executive order addressing national cybersecurity, said details of the measure are still being hammered out between a range of parties and interests involved.

“One of the things that’s happening now is outreach into the private sector and with other stakeholders to look at it and get some feedback before any EO would be issued – if ultimately there is that decision to go by executive order,” she said.

Napolitano cautiously expressed hope that Congress could still step in with more comprehensive cybersecurity legislation, which, with the ability to amend existing laws, would be able to go further than any steps offered by an executive order.

“In the meantime the Senate majority leader, Sen. [Harry] Reid, has indicated that he’s very interested in trying again in cyber. We’ll have to wait and see when the Congress comes back on the 13th of November,” she said. “They have a long list of things that need to be dealt with. But again, my hope, and the ideal way, is to go through Congress. But if Congress cannot act, then the executive branch is going to have to.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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