Three new bills introduced to add the weight and influence the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity wing through enhanced stability in leadership positions, added resources, followed by a public-private workforce exchange program.
The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Rep. John Katko, the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity protocols, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation, includes:
- Strengthening the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2020
- The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director and Assistant Directors Act
- The CISA Public-Private Talent Exchange Act
Taken together, all these three measures aim to enrich the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) national cybersecurity profile. Of these three, Katko bills are tied to the overall Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s (CSC) report, which got delivered last March, offering dozens of cybersecurity-related recommendations to advance the nation’s defenses.
Along those lines, Katko remained one among a bipartisan group of legislators who proposed the CSC-inspired National Cyber Director Act backing for a lead national-level coordinator on cyber risk management policies and strategies.
Strengthening the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2020
This Act requires CISA to review how the additional appropriations could be utilized to support programs for federal information systems management, national risk management, and public-private cybersecurity and integration.
It also suggested a review of workforce structure with current facilities and projected needs. Also, it reinforces the mandates that CISA provides a report to the House and Senate Homeland Committees within the first year of enactment, including the recommendations to the General Services Administration (GSA) on various facility needs.
It also requires GSA to give a review to the Administration and House and Senate Committees on various CISA facilities and needs within 30-days of the Congressional report.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director and Assistant Directors Act
The Act creates a five-year term for the CISA Director, with a limit of two terms. It also elevates the Director to the equivalent position with the Deputy Secretary and Military Service Secretaries. The focus also remains of categorizing the Assistant Director positions as the career public servants appointed by the DHS Secretary.
The CISA Public-Private Talent Exchange Act
The third Act pushes CISA to create a public-private workforce program to engage and facilitate the exchange of ideas, concepts, and strategies between private and federal sector cybersecurity professionals. It is critical to expanding the existing private outreach and partnership efforts, and this Act reinforces the same.
The time for the nation to take cybersecurity seriously is far overdue. Underscoring the fact, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, American governments and businesses, as well as individuals working remotely from home, have experienced a significant uptick in their cyber-attacks. As a nation, it’s evident that one must do better to prepare for, respond, and combat these attacks in real-time.