Adoption of a bill that would rename and reorganize the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) would help NPPD communicate its mission to outsiders and recruit much-needed cyber professionals, a House subcommittee was told today. “A name for our organization that reflects our mission is critical for our workforce, our recruitment efforts, and effective stakeholder engagement,” Jeanette Manfra, DHS’s assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, told the Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity and infrastructure protection subcommittee.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act (HR 3359) would change NPPD’s name to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and would streamline its organization. It would turn NPPD into more of an “operational” unit that would focus on cybersecurity and infrastructure protection. The Homeland Security Committee unanimously adopted the bill in July (TR Daily, July 26).
Christopher Krebs, DHS’s acting undersecretary in charge of NPPD, called for “quick action by the full House and Senate” to adopt HR 3359. “That bill will give us three things,” he said. “First, it will allow us to introduce some operational efficiencies.”
“Second, it will help with our branding and clarify roles and responsibilities not just within NPPD but, importantly, with our federal partners, state and local partners, and the private sector,” he told the subcommittee. Lastly, the name change and reorganization would give DHS “the ability to attract talent,” Mr. Krebs said.
He told the panel that on a recent trip to Puerto Rico to discuss hurricane recovery efforts, some local officials seemed confused by his official title and the NPPD name and, because he was discussing how to restore cellphone service, he was referred to as the “comms guy.”
“This legislation would mature and streamline the National Protection and Programs Directorate, or NPPD, to clearly reflect our essential mission,” he said.
Elaine Duke, DHS’s acting secretary, appealed last week to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to adopt HR 3359 and related legislation, the DHS Authorization Act of 2017 (HR 2825), which would reauthorize DHS for the first time in its 15-year history (TR Daily, Sept. 27). —Tom Leithauser, firstname.lastname@example.org