Cybersecurity

NPPD cyber and infrastructure security personnel are side by side

National Labs Bechtel training program

The Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity center has a new joint threat watch for cyber and infrastructure, said a top DHS cyber official.

Phyllis Schneck, deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications at the Department of Homeland Security's National Protection and Program Directorate, said that as of Dec. 15, there is a "joint watch" of physical security and cyber security personnel at the agency's National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center, or NCCIC.

Schneck said in remarks at a CS&C Dec. 16 Industry Day that the NCCIC now has "infrastructure protection watch personnel sitting with our cyber watch personnel," to provide wider situational awareness of physical and cyber threat information.

In Oct'ober, NPPD Undersecretary Suzanne Spaulding unveiled an reorganization plan to shift the NPPD's structure to better integrate cyber and physical infrastructure security efforts, which she said was the key to defusing an increasingly dangerous link between possible combined cyber and physical attacks on critical infrastructure and government facilities.

"At a very high level, the organization as we plan it will look like an NCCIC and also like a center for infrastructure security" that couples outreach and cybersecurity efforts, Schneck said. "Cyber is going to light up the infrastructure side to bring together our response to events, both cyber and physical together. That's where the adversary is going, so that's where we're going."

To further fuel threat data collection, DHS has also been looking to get critical infrastructure providers to adopt the National Institute of Standards and Technology's voluntary framework, including developing guidance and tools intended to help sector entities use the framework.

A Dec. 17 Government Accountability Office report said the agency is making progress on that adoption, but needs to develop metrics to assess the effectiveness of its framework promotion efforts.

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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