Cybersecurity

By Ben Bain

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Senate Republicans argue against White House cyber coordinator

Two Republican senators have introduced a cybersecurity bill that’s substantively different than many of the other numerous proposals to boost computer security in one key way: it argues against having the cyber coordinator in the White House.

Instead, the bill, introduced by Sens. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on June 24, would set up a national cyber center at the Defense Department to coordinate agencies’ computer security programs.

This measure differs from the two pieces of comprehensive cybersecurity legislation that have cleared separate Senate committees. Each proposal – one by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D- W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and the other by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Thomas Carper (D-Del.) – calls for a Senate-confirmed cyber coordinator at the White House.

Under the Bond and Hatch bill: cybersecurity would be directed by an appointed, Senate-confirmed director who could serve for up to five years. Under the bill, agencies responsible for protecting and defending federal information networks would have to submit their annual cyber budget requests to the director of the center for review and certification.

Aside from actions required by the bill, the defense secretary would only provide administrative and logistical support for the daily operation of the center, the legislation says.

A press statement announcing the bill posted on Bond’s Web site says that the bill’s sponsors “have real concerns with legislation that creates a cyber czar in the executive office of the president, since this will only impede congressional oversight. Also, giving more responsibility to the Department of Homeland Security at a time when it is already overburdened is questioned by the sponsors.”

Posted by Ben Bain on Jun 25, 2010 at 12:12 PM


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