NPPD reorg could make a comeback


The leadership at the Department of Homeland Security has changed, but there is still some internal momentum behind a plan to reorganize the agency's cybersecurity operations.

The DHS plan to reorganize and rename the National Protection and Programs Directorate to more closely bind cyber and physical security capabilities isn't going away, said the leader of NPPD at a New America cybersecurity conference on March 20.

Even though the reorganization plan was left stranded in Congress late last year, it is coming back. "We look forward to working with Congress to change the name," said Jeanette Manfra, acting deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity at NPPD, said during a panel at the Cybersecurity for a New America conference.

Earlier during the New America conference, former NPPD chief Suzanne Spaulding said that not being able to push through the reorganization and name change was one of her biggest regrets about her time at the agency.

Last fall, Spaulding and her team pushed hard for Congress to approve the reorganization. Spaulding said the reorganization would position the renamed Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency as the new cyber hub and operational component at DHS rather than simply a headquarters agency. The plan even received backing from then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, who said it should be at the top of Congress' to-do list after the election.

Manfra said that effort "laid the groundwork" for efforts to come. She didn't give a timeframe for reorganization plans, but said NPPD's core cybersecurity capabilities have only gotten sharper since last fall.

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, 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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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