Homeland security news

Tom Jarrett, NASCIO president

Henrik G. de Gyor

States to DHS: Set IT security

State chief information officers want Congress to prod the Homeland Security Department into developing a state cybersecurity assessment and strategy process.

The push to energize intergovernmental cybersecurity was one of the main issues that state CIOs raised with members of Congress during their annual DC Fly-In meeting May 4.

Cybersecurity "is definitely the thing that keeps us up most at night," said Tom Jarrett, NASCIO's president and Delaware's CIO.

Congress asked state CIOs for statistics and data on cybersecurity to use in developing legislation that affects state government, he said.

Proposed waiver power draws fire

Advocates for open government and environment are sounding alarms about a sweeping provision in the Iraq war supplemental bill approved by Congress earlier this month, granting the Secretary of Homeland Security virtually unlimited authority to waive laws related to border construction.

Although the provision is intended to speed road projects near borders, it is written so broadly it would let Secretary Michael Chertoff waive nearly any law, including those related to the environment, worker safety, public health and others, according to OMB Watch, a group advocating open government.  

DHS speeds Safety Act approvals

Six products and services won Safety Act certifications and designations in April, bringing to 17 the number of products and services granted some level of liability protection under the act by the Homeland Security Department.

Congress created the Safety Act in 2002 to protect makers of innovative anti-terrorism products and services from the huge financial losses that could result if those companies were to be sued for damages following a terrorist attack.

IG: Secure network too rushed

The Homeland Security Department's $337 million network for sharing top-secret data was developed in a rush, and as a result is inadequate and does not meet the needs of its users, according to a report by DHS' Acting Inspector General Richard Skinner.

Department officials developing the Secure Data Network hurried because they believed they would be cut off from the Pentagon's secure data network by Dec. 31, 2004, the inspector general said.

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