The Hill

Dissension in the ranks?

capitol dome

Former White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said Congress' inability to pass legislation that would better define agencies' cybersecurity roles should not be a serious problem, despite a tug of war over who is in charge.

"I think the [cybersecurity] executive order has clarified some of those leadership issues," Schmidt said, noting that it is generally agreed that the Department of Homeland Security supports the private sector when it comes to critical infrastructure; the Defense Department and the National Security Agency work with the defense industrial base and defense entities, including some parts of the intelligence community; and the FBI handles law enforcement and counterintelligence.

In terms of legislation, the House has passed a bill aimed at lowering the barriers for sharing information between the private sector and the government, but a broader Senate bill has gone nowhere.

Schmidt said he believes agencies can get along fine without Congress delineating their cybersecurity responsibilities.

"By all accounts, there's a consensus that the role in domestic things is clear: If somebody hacks into a power company [and] disrupts the electrical flow, the FBI would take the lead on the criminal aspect of that unless it's a nation-state...and then the rules are different," he said. "We see more debate than is necessary on this. Let's solve the problem of who gets to worry about their side of the ledger because it's pretty clear."

About the Author

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


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.