A key House panel on Wednesday voted to create a new Homeland Security Department agency that reflects the primacy of cyber protection among DHS’ protective responsibilities.
A bill introduced yesterday by the Homeland Security Committee – approved by a voice vote – would turn an existing DHS bureaucracy, the National Protection and Programs Directorate, or NPPD, into an “operational” agency, like the Transportation Security Administration.
The directorate would be renamed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency. It is expected the overhaul would take effect under the next White House administration in 2017.
A 2015 bill bestowed DHS with new private sector cyber duties, “and we want to ensure that we elevate the cybersecurity mission so it can effectively carry out those authorities,” a House committee staffer, who spoke on background, told Nextgov.
This measure “realigns and streamlines the department’s cybersecurity and infrastructure protection missions to more effectively protect the American public against cyberattacks that could cripple the nation,” committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said.
“Every day, cyber criminals and nation states are looking for vulnerabilities to exploit in companies like Target and Sony, our critical infrastructure sectors and the federal government,” he continued. “And while the complexities of these assaults grows, the steps taken today are crucial towards ensuring our homeland remains ready to defend against these attacks.”
The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 enacted a controversial program that encourages companies to share hack data — including private citizens’ information — with the federal government.
In February, DHS officials also had proposed a realignment of the…