As senators try to reconcile several cybersecurity-related bills under consideration, the Senate’s leadership wants President Barack Obama’s advice.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the leaders of six Senate committees recently sent a letter to th president asking for his “views on the optimal organizational structure, necessary updates and reforms to legislation, and regulations governing communications networks and information systems, and additional authorities needed to facilitate effective government leadership and response to cyber threats and vulnerabilities.”
The senators are working to develop comprehensive legislation that would give the government the capabilities and authorities needed for cybersecurity.
“We recognize that we face a critically important challenge in balancing the need for a secure, efficient and resilient digital environment with the imperative of maintaining civil liberties, open commerce and individual privacy,” they wrote. “Our committees have already developed a number of well-considered proposals to achieve this balance, and our intent is to build upon this work in our comprehensive legislation.”
The senators said they look forward to working with Obama and White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt.
The senators will need to reconcile two comprehensive proposals: one by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Olympia Snow (R-Maine) that’s cleared the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and another by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Thomas Carper (D-Del.) that’s cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Other bills could also be part of a consolidated bill.
The letter was signed by Reid, Rockefeller, and Lieberman, as well as Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Select Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.).
Posted on Jul 07, 2010 at 7:22 PM0 comments
Two Republican senators have introduced a cybersecurity bill that’s substantively different than many of the other numerous proposals to boost computer security in one key way: it argues against having the cyber coordinator in the White House.
Instead, the bill, introduced by Sens. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on June 24, would set up a national cyber center at the Defense Department to coordinate agencies’ computer security programs.
This measure differs from the two pieces of comprehensive cybersecurity legislation that have cleared separate Senate committees. Each proposal – one by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D- W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and the other by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Thomas Carper (D-Del.) – calls for a Senate-confirmed cyber coordinator at the White House.
Under the Bond and Hatch bill: cybersecurity would be directed by an appointed, Senate-confirmed director who could serve for up to five years. Under the bill, agencies responsible for protecting and defending federal information networks would have to submit their annual cyber budget requests to the director of the center for review and certification.
Aside from actions required by the bill, the defense secretary would only provide administrative and logistical support for the daily operation of the center, the legislation says.
A press statement announcing the bill posted on Bond’s Web site says that the bill’s sponsors “have real concerns with legislation that creates a cyber czar in the executive office of the president, since this will only impede congressional oversight. Also, giving more responsibility to the Department of Homeland Security at a time when it is already overburdened is questioned by the sponsors.”
Posted on Jun 25, 2010 at 7:21 PM0 comments
As the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee prepares to consider comprehensive cybersecurity legislation today, that committee’s leaders are working to make clear what exactly the bill would, and, perhaps most importantly, wouldn’t do.
Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) -- chairman and ranking Republican on the committee, respectively -- and sponsors of the bill, yesterday released a fact sheet about their legislation that listed five “myths” about the bill.
For example, the senators said the legislation wouldn’t give the president a “kill switch” to shut down the Internet as some have suggested. The bill also wouldn’t give the president the authority to take over the entire Internet or monitor private networks, according to the fact sheet said.
The committee plans to take up the bill this afternoon at 2:30.
Posted on Jun 24, 2010 at 7:21 PM2 comments