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House passes DHS cyber bills

Jul. 29, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
(KAREN BLEIER / AFP)

The House passed a trio of cybersecurity bills July 28 that would enhance information sharing and strengthen the cyber workforce at the Department of Homeland Security, according to lawmakers sponsoring the legislation.

The National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, introduced by Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas and ranking member Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and co-sponsored by Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., would strengthen public-private partnerships to help deter cyber attacks, they said in a statement.

The bill would require that cybersecurity incident response plans are updated regularly and amends existing legislation so that private entities can voluntarily submit their cybersecurity procedures to DHS in order to gain liability protections in the event of an attack.

“The National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act—the result of consultations with hundreds of stakeholders across government, the private sector and privacy advocates—will enable government and the private sector work together to prevent and defeat cyber attacks,” Meehan said..

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The bill also codifies into law the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, to facilitate the sharing of real-time cyber threat information across government and critical industries.

“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,” McCaul said in a statement.

The Homeland Security cybersecurity Boots-on-the-Ground Act would require DHS to develop occupation classifications for employees performing cyber activities and to make those classifications uniform across the agency.

The bill would also require DHS to develop a strategy to develop and recruit cyber security workers to fill gaps in its workforce.

“DHS’ success depends on how well it recruits, hires, and trains its cyber workforce,” said Thompson, who sponsored the legislation.

The Critical Infrastructure Research and Development Advancement Act requires DHS to develop a plan to help accelerate research and development into cybersecurity protections and technologies. The agency would update this plan every two years in consultation with industry and with cyber stakeholders.

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