The House of Representatives passed multiple pieces of legislation last week that help the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) strengthen the cybersecurity workforce and improve information sharing.
The National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, introduced by Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas and ranking member Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., aims to do this through more efficient public-private cybersecurity coordination.
Andy Medici of Federal Times has a good overview here. An important benefit of this legislation would enable private companies to voluntarily submit their cybersecurity policies to DHS, in exchange for certain liability protection in the event of an attack. Earlier legislation has made this process difficult.
Part of the legislation officially codifies the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center. The Center is designed to facilitate the sharing of real-time cyber threat information across government and critical industries, providing a more comprehensive view of the threats facing our country.
“This bipartisan bill establishes a true partnership between DHS and the private sector to ensure the distribution of real-time cyber threat information in order to secure our nation in cyberspace without burdensome mandates or regulations,” Congressman McCaul said in a statement.
The DHS will be developing detailed classifications for cybersecurity employees and will standardize those classifications across the agency via the Homeland Security cybersecurity Boots-on-the-Ground Act. This bill also requires DHS to develop a strategy to recruit and train cybersecurity workers, to ensure a steady supply of these critical workers to staff cybersecurity positions.
“The National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act—the result of consultations with hundreds of stakeholders across government, the private sector and privacy advocates—will enable government and the private sector work together to prevent and defeat cyber attacks,” said Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., who sponsored the bill.
In today’s cybersecurity battle, we need all hands on deck. This recent legislation is a good step forward, and a promising indication of government coordination and leadership.