DHS head: ‘We need to go further’ on cyber

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must “go further” on cybersecurity, Secretary Jeh Johnson said Thursday during his annual DHS progress speech.

“We need to make strides in cybersecurity,” Johnson said. “We need to go further.”

{mosads}The DHS’s cyber role has been steadily growing. At the end of the last Congress, lawmakers passed legislation to fortify the DHS’s cyber capability and expand its cyber jurisdiction. The White House also put the DHS at the center of its main cybersecurity legislation proposal, released in early January.

Under the administration’s plan, the DHS would serve as the hub for all cybersecurity information-sharing between the public and private sector.

Johnson applauded both efforts in his remarks.

“I was pleased that, last year, Congress provided bipartisan support for our efforts,” Johnson said.

The legislation codified the department’s cyber role for the first time and bolstered its ability to hire and train a cyber workforce. It also gave the department a greater role in helping other federal agencies mitigate and respond to cyberattacks.

In January, President Obama went to the DHS cyber info hub, known as the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), to announce the White House’s legislative offering.

The NCCIC already serves as a repository for cyber threat information-sharing, but Obama and Johnson want it to play an even larger role. The White House proposal would give companies legal liability protections when sharing cyber information with the NCCIC.

Such a move, “will ensure our economic prosperity, national security and individual civil liberties,” Johnson said.

Congress is expected to consider the measure this year, but many believe it cannot pass before lawmakers act on National Security Agency reform. 

Tags cybersecurity Jeh Johnson United States Department of Homeland Security

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