Eye Opener: The cybersecurity debate intensifies
Happy Monday! (Unless you're the New York Giants.) Congressional debate over how the government should ward off future cybersecurity attacks continues Monday, as a leading Republican lawmaker will propose giving the Homeland Security Department the lead on the government's efforts to combat dangerous, expensive computer attacks.
"Effectively managing government cybersecurity is going to require more than a few staff crammed into a cubicle in the depths of the White House," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) will say today at a symposium on cyber deterrence co-hosted by George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute and the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.
Her views, according to prepared remarks, differ from Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. On Friday Lieberman said he wants the government's cybersecurity efforts placed under a Senate-confirmed White House official that would oversee efforts to protect the government's civilian and private-sector computer networks.
But, "DHS is already the department within the federal government building partnership with the private sector to secure our critical infrastructure and key resources," Collins will say. She wants the government to establish a "cybersecurity center" at DHS "with a strong and empowered leader [who] will close the coordination gaps that currently exist in our disjointed federal efforts." The new director would also serve as the president's principal adviser on cybersecurity and report directly to the secretary of homeland security. The National Security Agency would also play a role, but could not lead the efforts because of its privacy and civil liberties concerns, Collins will argue.
Cybersecurity is of such great concern that President Obama proclaimed October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and called the government cybersecurity efforts "a national security priority." The White House conducted a 60-day cybersecurity review earlier this year, but still lacks a candidate to serve as "cybersecurity czar."
As The Eye wrote on Friday, the disagreement between Lieberman and Collins on this issue is notable since they've maintained a close and virtually nonpartisan working relationship as the chairman and ranking member on the Homeland Security committee. And their views also differ with Sens. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who introduced a bill earlier this year that would establish a national cybersecurity adviser reporting directly to the president and give less oversight and responsibility to DHS.
All of this means there's a still a long way to go before the government establishes a cybersecurity consensus.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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• 18,000 employees accept Postal Service buyout: The final tally of buyout acceptances from each job category isn't available yet and it's also too soon to determine the agency's savings as a result of the buyout.
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