Congress

Committee advances bill to expand NPPD as cybersecurity agency

Shutterstock image: Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

A House panel is backing the Department of Homeland Security's bid to rebrand the National Protection and Programs Directorate as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency Act of 2016 elevates the cyber protection operation within DHS to an agency with four separate divisions.  

"The job of mapping out a new agency is a complicated one," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said during the committee vote on the bill. But Thompson, the panel's ranking Democrat, said this "could help DHS chart a new course as we carry out its cyber infrastructure protection and emergency communications mission."

Under the bill, the new agency would have a cybersecurity division, infrastructure protection division, emergency communication division and the federal protective service. It would be led by an official with the title director of national cybersecurity at DHS,  and would coordinate with other agencies on all matters related to cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection policy and operations. 

McCaul said his bill "realigns and streamlines" the current cybersecurity and infrastructure protection mission at NPPD to "more effectively protect the American public…against cyber attacks that could cripple the nation."

The Cybersecurity Division would be in charge of coordinating with both federal agencies and the private sector to "reduce cybersecurity risks."

Committee passage of the bill came just a few days after NPPD chief Suzanne Spaulding told a DHS advisory committee meeting that "Congress doesn't seem to be buying" the reorganization plan.

"It is clear [NPPD] has outgrown its current organizational structure as just a headquarters component," Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) said.  With the creation of this agency, Langevin  said, the private sector would be able to get assistance from the new restructured office on major breaches.

Additionally, the Office of Biometric Identity Management, which provides technology for collecting and storing biometric data to federal, state and local law enforcement, would become its own entity within DHS. Currently, it is part of NPPD. 

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.