Trump signs bill cementing cybersecurity agency at DHS

Trump signs bill cementing cybersecurity agency at DHS

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE on Friday signed into law a bill that cements the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) role as the main agency overseeing civilian cybersecurity, with a focus on securing federal networks and protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

The cybersecurity branch known as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will now be elevated to the same stature as other units within DHS, such as Secret Service or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The bill Trump signed Friday, which unanimously passed the House earlier this week, also rebrands DHS’ main cybersecurity unit, known as National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency. 

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Top DHS officials have been pushing for the bill to pass, arguing it would better communicate their mission to the private sector and help DHS recruit top cyber talent. The bill passed the House on Tuesday, after stalling in the Senate earlier this year.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenEx-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' MORE hailed the bill's passage in Congress earlier this week, calling it "a significant step to stand up a federal government cybersecurity agency.”

“The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, and we need to ensure we’re properly positioned to defend America’s infrastructure from threats digital and physical. It was time to reorganize and operationalize NPPD into the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency," she added.

Christopher Krebs, who heads the NPPD, is slated to become the cyber agency's director as part of the law.
 
DHS's cyber unit has seen its responsibilities grow in the past decade since it was created. Most recently, NPPD has taken the lead on engaging with states to protect digital election infrastructure from cyberattacks following Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.