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Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Cybersecurity subcommittee examines DHS progress in securing federal networks

U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) chaired a House Homeland Security Committee Cybersecurity Subcommittee hearing last week to examine the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) continuing efforts to secure federal networks.

“Federal law has deliberately tasked DHS with a critical role in the protection of federal networks, and over the past few years we’ve made some significant strides,” Ratcliffe said. “As DHS works to fulfill the important responsibility of fully implementing its federal network protection programs, it’s imperative that we in Congress stay engaged through frequent, thorough and ongoing oversight.”

The hearing included testimony from the Government Accountability Office, DHS, and Congressional Research Service officials. Witnesses spoke on where the department has succeeded and where more improvement is needed in carrying out provisions of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 and the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014, both of which sought to improve network security for federal systems.

Witnesses spoke on DHS’s EINSTEIN program, which detects and blocks cyberattacks from compromising federal agencies and provides situational awareness for threat information detection. They also mentioned the Contiguous Diagnostics and Mitigation program, which provides federal departments with capabilities to identify and mitigate various cybersecurity risks.
DHS’s Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity Jeanette Manfra said federal, state, and local governments have seen a series of cybersecurity compromises over recent years, but was encouraged by the president’s recently-released budget blueprint.

“This administration will make significant investments in cybersecurity,” Manfra said. “In the recently-released budget blueprint, the president requested $1.5 billion for DHS to safeguard cyberspace by protecting federal networks and critical infrastructure from an attack.”