DHS has work to do on cyber


The Department of Homeland Security is tardy in implementing five of the Government Accountability Office's cybersecurity recommendations, along with a long list of other recommendations.

In an April 19 letter to Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, GAO listed dozens of unfulfilled high-priority recommendations that DHS should expedite. In addition to cybersecurity issues, the suggestions include recommendations for flood insurance programs and border security surveillance gear.

DHS should complete work on a 2017 GAO recommendation to set up metrics to assess the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center's performance. According to the report, DHS is still determining how to apply key performance factors and targets for the center.

Additionally, the watchdog agency told DHS to step up work on developing a more cohesive cybersecurity workforce by completing its identification, categorization and assigning codes to myriad agency cybersecurity positions. Specifically, GAO said the secretary should make sure DHS' Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer collects accurate and complete data from all the agency's components on their filled and vacant cybersecurity slots when it collects and codes for the positions.

GAO also told DHS to develop guidance to help component agencies correctly identify cyber work categories and specialty areas to align them with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Framework.

And while DHS has reached out to some steps to some critical infrastructure sectors and industry coordinating councils to educate them on the National Institute of Standards and Technology's cybersecurity framework and its relevance, GAO noted that outreach is far from complete.

The letter is part of an ongoing series of public communications to agencies seeking fast action on longstanding GAO recommendations.

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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