National Cyber "Czar", New Cybersecurity Platform
Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Senator Joe Lieberman will offer a legislation to systematize a White House cybersecurity adviser. He told the Chamber of Commerce during a Cyberspace Conference meeting in Washington that the post will require Senate confirmation.
Although President Obama said last May that he planned to appoint a cybersecurity coordinator without requiring Senate confirmation, the position continues to be unoccupied. On the contrary, lawmakers say that cybersecurity coordinator would report to both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council; thus, he must be subjected to Senate confirmation.
Lieberman said that the cybersecurity coordinator would manage cybersecurity activities over all federal agencies, provide tactical leadership and guidance to the president and control power and assets to make modifications as needed. The cybersecurity adviser is needed "to ensure that the classified work conducted by Department of Defense and intelligence agencies is informing the defensive actions taken by our domestic agencies."
Lieberman also stated that Congress must provide the Department of Homeland Security the necessary power and human resources to supervise the federal civilian networks to protect against malicious traffic. Although DHS already has the same authority through a presidential order, he recommended that the department could expand its personnel via legislation and gain support from other federal agencies to succeed. (To learn more about entering the Department of Homeland Security, read this information about earning your homeland security degree.)
Furthermore, Lieberman stated that DHS must identify the weaknesses in the IT systems of businesses, especially the financial, power, and transportation infrastructures, and protect them from cyber attacks. He added that DHS should also identify the most critical cyber infrastructure and ask its operators to perform risk assessments to identify existing vulnerabilities. DHS will then work with these companies to decide the best way to mitigate the vulnerabilities but will not mandate a one-size-fits all strategy to bolster security.
Lieberman also discussed his plans for DHS to establish a voluntary cybersecurity standards program to encourage businesses to comply with specific standards through a certification program and award them a seal of approval that will be placed on the company's website, similar to the standards of Good Housekeeping or Energy Seals.
Lieberman also expressed his plans to tighten federal acquisition policies to guarantee IT wares are preconfigured with security controls and grant agencies employment and salary flexibilities to attract competent IT security experts.
While Leiberman laid out his proposal to the executives of the Chamber of Commerce, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano disclosed the new 61-station National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in northern Virginia. This center will merge the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team and the National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications. Napolitano also displayed vivid charts and maps of possible cyber threats and suspicious internet traffic. He also revealed that the watch center will allow high-tech teams to monitor government networks to work better together.
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