DHS head: Nation's cybersecurity has improved, but work remains

Dive Brief:

  • An exit memo authored by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson outlined a number of DHS cybersecurity accomplishments achieved during the Obama administration but warned that "more work remains to be done."
  • Johnson specifically mentioned DHS’ request that Congress establish the Cyber and Infrastructure Protection Agency to replace the National Protection and Programs Directorate. The move would allow DHS to "streamline and strengthen existing functions within the Department and ensure we are best positioned to execute our vital mission of countering cyber threats to the nation," Johnson said. 
  • DHS conducts criminal investigations, develops standardized cybersecurity methods and shares cyber response best practices and tools with other federal agencies.

Dive Insight:

Johnson also noted more funds are needed to ensure DHS’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) has the resources necessary to meet increasing demand, particularly human resources.

Part of DHS' national security responsibilities include protecting the private sector from cyberattacks. New threats crop up almost daily and DHS is one of the agencies tasked with responding. Though Johnson commends how far the agency has come, there is still far more work to be done and more bureaucratic red tape to cross. 

The 26th annual federal CIO survey released in September found cybersecurity is the most pressing concern for federal CIOs. In April, security risk benchmarking startup SecurityScorecard said U.S. federal, state and local government agencies rank lowest in cybersecurity when compared to the private sector. The federal government has suffered large-scale breaches at the Office of Personnel Management and the IRS, which have resulting in huge data losses.

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Filed Under: Security
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