Cybersecurity

DHS shutdown could affect the C in CDM

capitol dome and bills

One of the top managers of the Department of Homeland Security's cyber protection directorate warned a House subcommittee Feb. 12 that a DHS shutdown could significantly harm federal cybersecurity efforts.

Andy Ozment, assistant secretary of the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at DHS' National Protection and Programs Directorate, told the House Homeland Security Committee's Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee that a shutdown could force a furlough of 140 staff members at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center and stall two crucial programs: Einstein and Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation.

The Senate is haggling over legislation that would fund DHS for the remainder of fiscal 2015. Republicans don't have the votes to bring a House-passed version to the floor, and President Barack Obama has threatened to veto any measure that, like the House bill, doesn't fund his immigration policy. Short-term DHS funding enacted in December is set to run out at the end of the month.

Ozment said a shutdown would delay bringing more agencies onboard DHS' Einstein 3, the latest iteration of the agency's automated intrusion-detection program that went live in July 2013. It would also halt the protection the program provides for agencies using it.

Furthermore, a shutdown would affect CDM's progress. "With CDM, we're on the verge of issuing a contract," Ozment said. "It would delay issuance of this award."

In his prepared testimony, Ozment said Obama's fiscal 2016 budget requests $102.7 million for the CDM program and added that 2015 would be "an exciting year for the program, with acquisition Groups A and B -- covering seven agencies and over 45 percent of all federal civilian personnel -- beginning to deploy CDM tools beginning in the third quarter of fiscal year 2015."

By the first quarter of fiscal 2016, Ozment said, 25 agencies and more than 95 percent of all federal civilian personnel will have started deploying CDM tools provided by DHS.

Agency-level dashboards will begin appearing in fiscal 2015, and the federal dashboard is expected to reach full operating capability in fiscal 2017, he added.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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