News in Brief

Domain name delay, DHS funding, McCain on acquisition and more

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Commerce likely to extend IANA contract until at least July 2016

A Commerce Department official told members of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee on July 8 that an Internet Assigned Numbers Authority contract will need to be extended at least through July 2016 to allow time for oversight.

The IANA contract, held by U.S.-based nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, governs key features of the Internet's Domain Name System. The contract is due to expire Sept. 30 as part of a transition to a global multi-stakeholder model for IANA.

But Lawrence Strickling, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, told lawmakers that the contract needs to be extended at least through the following July. "We need to build in time for NTIA, as well as Congress, to review and evaluate the plan and we also need to factor in time to implement the plan, assuming it is approved," he said.

Homeland Security funding bill unveiled

The House Appropriations Committee's fiscal 2016 Homeland Security appropriations bill, which was released July 8, aims to bump up cybersecurity funding as part of the overall $39.3 billion in discretionary funding it would provide.

The measure will be considered by the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee on July 9.

The discretionary funding total is $337 million less than the fiscal 2015 enacted level and $2.1 billion less than President Barack Obama's request, according to a committee statement. The bill would not fund the president's executive action on immigration, raising the possibility of a repeat of last year's threat of a partial government shutdown over the issue.

The bill would trim funding for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while boosting cybersecurity and infrastructure funding. It includes $1.6 billion for the National Protection and Programs Directorate -- $82.2 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level – to protect critical infrastructure and prevent cyberattacks. That total includes $798 million to fund deployment of the third-generation EINSTEIN system to help secure .gov network traffic, and to improve the Federal Network Security program to detect and prevent cyberattacks and foreign espionage.

McCain calls Kendall's acquisition reform concern 'misplaced'

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) has dismissed as "misplaced" Pentagon concerns that the Senate defense authorization bill would over-empower the service chiefs in acquisition decisions.

The Senate bill would hold the services to account "for acquisition failures by paying a penalty on cost overruns and surrendering control of mismanaged programs" to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L), the Arizona Republican said in an interview with War on the Rocks published July 8.

In an interview last month with Breaking Defense, AT&L Undersecretary Frank Kendall slammed McCain's proposal as coming at the "worst time," adding that the defense bill "destroys my ability to lead."

Without mentioning Kendall by name, McCain countered the undersecretary's argument that giving the service chiefs more control of acquisition decisions could lead to recklessness. "Unwarranted optimism is indeed a plague on acquisition, but there is certainly no monopoly of that in the services," McCain told War on the Rocks. "This happens with disturbing regularity under the current system, including in numerous examples when AT&L has backed overly optimistic service cost positions."

Marine Corps CIO orders accelerated adoption of PKI, smart cards

Marine Corps CIO Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally has ordered all system administrator and privileged user accounts to accelerate their adoption of public key infrastructure credentials or smart cards "to address core vulnerabilities exploited in recent cyber incidents."

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