Lawmakers Move to Expand DHS Cybersecurity Role

House and Senate lawmakers advanced two bills last Wednesday that would expand the Department of Homeland Security‘s cybersecurity mission.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed a DHS reauthorization bill that would reorganize the department’s National Protection and Programs Directorate; secure personally identifiable information; and support cybersecurity research, Covington & Burling‘s government contracts unit said Friday.

The Senate version of the bill includes an amendment that would rename NPPD as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and elevate the organization’s cybersecurity role.

The legislation would also direct Customs and Border Protection to remove PII such as social security numbers, passport numbers and residential addresses from manifests prior to public disclosure.

A third amendment seeks to support cybersecurity technology research, development, testing, evaluation and transition in partnership with other federal agencies, industry and academia.

The House Homeland Security Committee approved the Cyber Incident Response Teams Act, which would authorize DHS’ National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center to form cyber hunt and incident response teams.

The teams will help asset owners and operators restore services after a cyber incident; identify potential cybersecurity risks and unauthorized cyber activities; offer measures to address vulnerabilities; and recommend ways to optimize network and systems security.

The Act permits NCCIC to fill the Cyber Incident Response Teams with cybersecurity specialists from the government and private sector.

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