Cybersecurity

Critical infrastructure cyber bill moves forward

Placeholder Image for Article Template

The latest round of cybersecurity legislation is moving ahead in the House, with the Homeland Security Committee on Feb. 5 approving a bill by voice vote that seeks to protect critical infrastructure and codify information-sharing practices.

According to a summary of the bill, the measure would formalize numerous existing government cybersecurity efforts, such as information-sharing initiatives between the public and private sectors and assessments of the cyber workforce. It would also strengthen the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center and prohibit new regulatory authorities at agencies, particularly the Department of Homeland Security.

The bill "aligns with the presidential executive order, which is the most comprehensive protection of critical infrastructure to date," said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel’s ranking member. "The publication of [the forthcoming National Institute of Standards and Technology cybersecurity framework] has the potential to fundamentally alter how decisions about federal security networks get made."

Much of the deliberation during the session, however, focused on issues related to privacy and civil liberties. Debates sparked over amendments targeting transparency in the government's collection of individuals' information, particularly during border searches of personal electronic devices. One such amendment by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) was set aside, and committee members said they would discuss it further behind closed doors.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the committee and the bill’s sponsor, was pleased with the outcome.

"This bill represents over a year of work and more than 300 meetings with experts and stakeholders, including the owners and operators of critical infrastructure, government agencies, academics and privacy advocates," he said. "We went through several drafts and countless hours of negotiations, but I'm proud to say the final product is, as our friends at the ACLU have called it, ‘both pro-security and pro-privacy.'"

About the Author

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

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group