Several Democrats in the US House of
Representatives have announced they have introduced legislation that
would expand the cybersecurity powers of the Department of Homeland
Bennie Thompson, of Mississippi, the outgoing chairman of the
Homeland Security committee, proposed the 2010 Homeland Security Cyber
and Physical Infrastructure Protection Act, along with co-sponsors Jane
Harman of California and Yvette Clarke of New York state.
The legislation is aimed at enhancing the DHS cybersecurity capacity by:
- Authorising the department's office of cybersecurity and communications
- Creating a new cybersecurity compliance division to oversee the
establishment and enforcement of performance-based standards for
government agencies and private networks determined to be critical.
- Requiring DHS to work with network operators to develop
tailored security plans that meet risk-based, performance-based
- Requiring DHS to share threat intelligence and protect proprietary information.
"From a security and good-government standpoint, the way to deliver
better cybersecurity is to leverage, modify, and enhance existing
structures and efforts, rather than make wholesale bureaucratic
changes," said Thompson.
Harman, who is chair of the subcommittee on intelligence, information
sharing and terrorism risk assessment, said cyber attacks, whether
originated by other countries or sub-national groups, were a grave and
growing threat to government and the private sector.
"This bill provides new tools to DHS to confront them effectively and
make certain that civil liberties are protected," she said.