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Senators urge White House to speed cyber policy updates

Leaders of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday pressed the Obama administration to speed the update of a 15-year-old guidance they say is hampering agencies from catching hackers.

The guidance in question, known as Circular A-130, directs agencies on how to secure their information technology.

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First issued in the 1980s, this document has not been revised in more than 15 years despite drastic changes in technology and the cyber threats facing the government, said committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator seeking information on FBI dealings with Bruce Ohr, former DOJ lawyer Election Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms Senate Homeland chair vents Mueller probe is preventing panel from receiving oversight answers MORE (R-Wis.) and ranking member Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senators face Wednesday vote on Trump health plans rule | Trump officials plan downtime for ObamaCare website | Lawmakers push for action on reducing maternal deaths MORE (D-Del.).

A 2014 law directed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to update the document by December of 2015, but Johnson and Carper say the government is behind schedule.

“We appreciate OMB’s work to update Circular A-130, but also emphasize the importance of completing this revision in a timely manner,”  the two senators wrote in their letter to the OMB head, Shaun DonovanShaun L. S. DonovanHouse Dems call on OMB to analyze Senate budget plan Overnight Finance: Dems turn up heat on Wells Fargo | New rules for prepaid cards | Justices dig into insider trading law GOP reps warn Obama against quickly finalizing tax rules MORE. “We request that you provide us with a date by which you plan to issue revisions to Circular A-130.”

The lawmakers also asked for a staff briefing on the status of the updates within 30 days.

Revising the outdated guidance is part of the government’s broader efforts to get its cyber house in order.

In late 2014, Congress pushed through a series of small-bore bills that delineated cyber powers among the agencies. One of those measures, the Federal Information Security Modernization Act, directed the administration to update Circular A-130.

Then in December, Congress approved a wide ranging cyber bill that also mandated certain digital security standards while accelerating the rollout of the government’s anti-hacking shield that detects and repels known cyber threats.