Congress

Bill aims to put local, state fusion center reps in NCCIC

Shutterstock imag (by Benjamin Haas): cyber coded team.

A bill introduced in the House of Representatives on June 14 would improve cyber threat information sharing among federal, state and local government at the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity and communications protection center.

Under the Cyber Preparedness Act of 2016, sponsored by Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.), state and local government fusion center personnel would be physically stationed at DHS' National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

Donovan is chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications.

A spokesman for Donovan's office said that suggestion came from panelists in a May cybersecurity hearing, who said physical co-location of the personnel at DHS' NCCIC would improve sharing.

State and local law enforcement agencies, according to Donovan's statement on the legislation, sometimes don't get sufficiently current information from federal authorities about cyber threats, defensive measures, or best practices. In the May hearing, according to Donovan's office, Lt. Col. Daniel Cooney, assistant deputy superintendent for the New York State Police Office of Counterterrorism, suggested federal cybersecurity intelligence isn't shared with state and urban fusion centers as quickly as counterterror information is shared.

The legislation looks for tighter and more efficient relationships among local, state and federal officials to more efficiently distribute cyberthreat information, Donovan's spokesman said. It would also help NCCIC share declassified information with fusion centers more rapidly.

The arrangement echoes a plan to reorganize the Department of Homeland Security's National Protections and Programs Directorate into a new entity called Cyber Infrastructure Protection. That proposed reorganization would place DHS cybersecurity experts in the same offices as the NPPD personnel responsible for monitoring the physical security of federal facilities and critical infrastructure. NPPD officials have said the closer co-location could provide vital interaction between cyber and physical security experts who could ferret out electronic links to potentially suspicious physical activity more quickly.

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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