House Wants Private Sector To Help Bolster U.S. Cyber Defense

An analyst works at the government’s secretive cyber defense lab, Sept. 29, 2011, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The Homeland Security Department's Control System Security Program facilities are intended to protect the nation's power grid.

Mark J. Terrill/AP

AA Font size + Print

An analyst works at the government’s secretive cyber defense lab, Sept. 29, 2011, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The Homeland Security Department's Control System Security Program facilities are intended to protect the nation's power grid.

House lawmakers think partnerships between the private sector and DHS will go a long way toward protecting America's vulnerable civil infrastructure. By Rebecca Carroll

Two bills to strengthen cybersecurity in the systems that underlie the nation’s energy, water and food supplies passed the House on Monday evening, along with a measure to improve the federal government’s cyber workforce.

A bill (H.R. 3696) introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, seeks to strengthen the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to protect 16 critical sectors — including defense, health, energy and food — by establishing partnerships with the private sector and enhancing programs already in place.  

The legislation would formalize the role of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, which was established in 2009 to help critical-infrastructure sectors share cyber-threat information in real time.

The Congressional Budget Office on Monday said a separate Senate bill to codify the center’s role would not result in significant costs.

Other legislation passed by the House on Monday included a bill (H.R. 2952) introduced by Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., to improve critical-infrastructure security technology and a bill (H.R. 3107) from Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y, to bolster DHS’ cyber workforce.

McCaul, chairman of the House homeland security committee, cited fears that the country is in “a pre-9/11 mindset” regarding cybersecurity.

“A successful cyberattack on our nation’s water systems, oil and gas pipelines, power grids and mass transit systems on the scale of the recent retail breaches could cause crippling economic damage and could even cost lives,” he said, referring to breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus, among others.

“The reality is the threat is outpacing our readiness to combat it,” he said. “This bipartisan bill establishes a true partnership between DHS and the private sector to ensure the distribution of real-time cyber threat information in order to secure our nation in cyberspace without burdensome mandates or regulations.”

It was unclear when the Senate would take up the measures.

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • Military Readiness: Ensuring Readiness with Analytic Insight

    To determine military readiness, decision makers in defense organizations must develop an understanding of complex inter-relationships among readiness variables. For example, how will an anticipated change in a readiness input really impact readiness at the unit level and, equally important, how will it impact readiness outside of the unit? Learn how to form a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of readiness and make decisions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Information Operations: Retaking the High Ground

    Today's threats are fluent in rapidly evolving areas of the Internet, especially social media. Learn how military organizations can secure an advantage in this developing arena.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.