Senate Approves Bill to Create DHS ‘Operational’ Cyber Unit

Legislation that would turn the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) into an “operational” unit focused on cybersecurity and infrastructure protection was approved yesterday by the Senate.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act (HR 3359) cleared the Senate by unanimous consent.  The House approved the bill last December (TR Daily, Dec. 11, 2017).  But the amended Senate version will have to return to the House for another vote.

The new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency that would be created by the bill would be led by a director rather than an undersecretary and would include three divisions devoted to cybersecurity, infrastructure security, and emergency communications.  Christopher Krebs, DHS’s undersecretary–national protection and programs, would lead the new agency.

The bill originated in the House Homeland Security Committee, where it was introduced by Reps. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), the committee’s chairman, and Bennie G. Thompson (D., Miss.), its ranking member.  “I commend my colleagues in the Senate for passing the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (#CISA) Act last night.  This will elevate @DHSgov’s cyber mission and protect our IT networks and critical cyber infrastructure,” Rep. McCaul tweeted today.

Top DHS officials had endorsed the bill, arguing that it would improve the department’s focus on cyber and infrastructure protection and help communicate the agency’s mission to outsiders.  The president is expected to sign it. —Tom Leithauser, tom.leithauser@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily