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[ISN] Bill to promote cybersecurity chief moves forward
By Wilson P. Dizard III
A House subcommittee today approved a bill that would elevate the
Homeland Security Department.s cybersecurity director to the level of
an assistant secretary in the Information Analysis and Infrastructure
The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Economic Security,
Infrastructure Protection and Cybersecurity passed HR 285, the
Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2005, by unanimous voice vote. The
bill specifies that the assistant secretary for cybersecurity will
lead the directorate.s National Cybersecurity Division. It calls for
the division to identify threats and vulnerabilities, reduce
vulnerabilities, launch warning systems and respond to cyberattacks.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a subcommittee member, had introduced
similar legislation earlier this year along with Rep. Mac Thornberry
(R-Texas), who formerly chaired a now-superseded Select Committee on
Homeland Security subcommittee in the 108th Congress. The two
lawmakers helped move a similar bill out of committee last year, but
it was blocked by opponents who contended that cybersecurity and
physical security oversight should remain linked.
Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) offered and withdrew an amendment that would
have mandated a study of the department.s cybersecurity activities and
possible reorganization. Davis, chairman of the House Government
Reform Committee, has serious doubts about the wisdom of elevating the
cybersecurity slot to the assistant secretary level, according to his
"Chairman Davis believes Congress gave DHS broad reorganization
powers, and he will not support the legislation unless the secretary
of Homeland Security supports it," said Melissa Wojciak, the
committee's staff director, at a panel discussion sponsored by the
Association for Federal Information Resources Management in
"The position, the chairman believes, may duplicate some of what" the
Office of Management and Budget does, Wojciak said.
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