Key Committee Approves Measures to Enhance Nations Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON- Today, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved legislation that would take a number of steps to modernize and address critical challenges to the nation’s cyber security capabilities. Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) Act of 2014 and the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 yesterday. Both measures were reported favorably by voice vote.

“Cybersecurity is one of our nation’s biggest challenges,” said Chairman Carper. “That’s why it’s imperative that we face this 21st century threat with a 21st century response. While our work in this area is far from finished, these bills are an important step in our effort to modernize our nation’s cybersecurity programs and help the public and private sectors work together to tackle cyber threats more effectively in the future. I’d like to thank my Committee colleagues for approving these critical measures and I look forward to working with Dr. Coburn as this legislation moves to the Senate floor.”

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center Act of 2014 would codify the existing cybersecurity and communications operations center at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), known as the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center. The bill calls on the Center is to serve as the a federal civilian information sharing interface for cybersecurity. The bill authorizes the Center’s current activities to share cybersecurity information and analysis with the private sector, provide incident response and technical assistance to companies and federal agencies, and recommend security measures to enhance cybersecurity.

The Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 would update the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 and address critical issues that have risen over the past 12 years. The bill would better delineate the roles and responsibilities of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and DHS, move agencies away from paperwork-heavy processes toward real-time and automated security, and put greater management and oversight attention on data breaches.

In May, the Committee approved the DHS Cybersecurity Workforce Recruitment and Retention Act of 2014, S.2354, which would help address critical challenges that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) faces in hiring and retaining cybersecurity professionals by providing the Secretary of Homeland Security hiring and compensation authorities for cybersecurity experts like those of the Secretary of Defense.