DHS Urged to Move Quickly, Cautiously on CDM

The Department of Homeland Security should move more quickly to deploy a network security system known as continuous diagnostics and mitigation (CDM), according to Rep. John Ratcliffe (R., Texas), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity and infrastructure protection subcommittee. “While I understand that setting up new government programs, buying new and advanced technologies, and deploying those technologies across a massive federal environment is not easy, the threats to federal agencies continue to grow every minute,” Rep. Ratcliffe said today at a subcommittee hearing on CDM.

“The maturity of the continuing diagnostics and mitigation program has to move at the pace of new technologies and innovations, not at the pace of bureaucracy,” he said.

A fully deployed CDM system would enable DHS to keep watch over civilian agencies’ networks and identify threats as they arise.  DHS has completed the first implementation phase and is working on buying the components and services needed for the next phase. “CDM is an ambitious program that I believe, if implemented well and over a reasonable timeline, provides the American people the kind of federal cybersecurity that they deserve,” Rep. Ratcliffe said.

The subcommittee today heard from representatives of private sector technology providers, including several that are working on DHS’s CDM deployment.  “Promoting CDM’s continued success over the next several years will require continued funding through appropriations, robust oversight by Congress, and sustained leadership from DHS,” said Frank Dimina, area vice president–federal for Splunk, Inc., a CDM contractor.

“Thoughtful design of the next phase of CDM will help DHS to better position the program for the future,” Mr. Dimina said in written testimony.  “CDM must be able to evolve quickly and allow for additions of new technologies that can enable risk-based monitoring and protection for modern practices such as cloud and micro-services.”

Gregg Mossburg, senior VP-strategic operations for CGI Federal, Inc., which is also involved in DHS’s CDM deployment, noted that the federal government’s effort to implement CDM is one of the largest projects of its kind.

“While everyone feels the urgency brought on by continuous cyber attacks, it is important to not lose sight of the fact that providing security to networks as large and complex as those of the U.S. government is an enormous undertaking,” he told the panel in written testimony.  “This is one of the first efforts of its type; therefore, it is critical to lay a solid foundation on these programs before building more advanced capabilities.” —Tom Leithauser, tom.leithauser@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily