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FCW : October 2015
October 2015 FCW.COM 7 Trending Postal Service employees clicked on links in a phishing email sent as part of an IG study 1in4 Members of a key House panel agreed that a reorganization of the Department of Homeland Security’s directorate in charge of cyber and physical security is overdue, but some lawmakers are concerned that Congress is not being kept in the loop. DHS officials are considering a makeover of the National Protection and Programs Directorate that would include “cultural, governance and pro- cess changes” in how the directorate operates, said DHS Undersecretary for NPPD Suzanne Spaulding. She testi- fied at an Oct. 7 hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Cyber- security, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee. The plan would empower the direc- torate’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, the 24/7 hub for analyzing and dis- seminating cyberthreat information, by giving the center its own office and aligning it with two multibillion-dollar DHS programs that have been deemed central to federal civilian cybersecurity: Einstein and Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), the subcommittee’s chairman, and other lawmakers sent a letter to DHS in Sep- tember complaining that they were being kept in the dark about the reor- ganization. The hearing was a chance to clear the air. “Several members of the committee and I were very disappointed to learn about this proposal through leaked reports in the media,” Ratcliffe told DHS officials at the hearing. Spaulding said she would keep the subcommittee apprised of the reorga- nization plans and acknowledged that some changes to the directorate would require congressional approval. The proposed NPPD shakeup reflects the Obama administration’s ongoing quest to work more closely with the private sector on cybersecu- rity challenges. For instance, a pro- posed NPPD infrastructure security office would offer training and assis- tance to owners and operators of criti- cal infrastructure. “Within NPPD, we need to take a holistic approach across cyber and physical risks,” Spaulding said. The private sector increasingly takes such a view, which “reflects the world that they face, a world in which cyber and physical...are increasingly intertwined.” Acquisition is another focus area of the NPPD makeover plan. The depart- ment is “proposing an acquisition pro- gram management function to enable greater effectiveness and accountability in acquisition programs and ensure that operational programs have the tools required in a timely manner,” Spauld- ing said in her prepared testimony. That new function would help NPPD work with the department’s Science and Technology Directorate on research and development, she added. Chris Currie, a homeland security expert at the Government Accountabil- ity Office, said DHS would be wise to consider how the reorganization will affect acquisition management. “Our experience at DHS and other agencies has shown that it’s often the management issues that can creep in as problems later on, after [reor- ganizations] are done, in areas like human capital and acquisition,” he told lawmakers. John Cohen, a former acting under- secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, told FCW that better aligning NPPD’s cyber and physical security missions by encouraging coordination among field personnel is a worthy goal. “However, any reorganization should also clearly reflect how NPPD will work with other DHS elements,” he said. Cohen, who is now a professor at Rutgers University, added that DHS officials must also consider how NPPD interacts with “other federal organi- zations engaged in activities such as active-shooter response, private-sector outreach, cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection.” — Sean Lyngaas Congress vets DHS cyber reorg plans INK TANK 1015fcw_003-009.indd 7 10/14/15 12:55 PM
September 30, 2015
November and December 2015