House Select committee OKs homeland bill

As the House Select Committee on Homeland Security this month put its touches on the House version of the bill to establish the Homeland Security Department, a high-ranking federal systems official moved into a new position to direct domestic systems security efforts.

NASA CIO Lee Holcomb began a six- to 12-month detail in the Homeland Security Office. As the office's director of infostructure, he will concentrate on technology for a homeland security information architecture, said Steven I. Cooper, the office's CIO.

Cooper praised Holcomb's background in federal IT and enterprise architecture.

At NASA, Holcomb has managed the successful Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA program. He also oversaw a comprehensive information security review of NASA systems, which led to many upgrades and the creation of a continuing program to improve information security.

As Holcomb took his place at the Homeland Security Office, the select committee approved HR 5005 by a 5-4 vote.

The committee adopted several amendments, including modifications that would:

  • Abolish the Immigration and Naturalization Service, send its enforcement functions to the new department and leave immigrant services in the Justice Department

  • Exempt the proposed Homeland Security Department from the Clinger-Cohen Act's requirement that its CIO report to the department's secretary

  • Appoint a chief privacy officer to address privacy issues

  • Establish a federal systems security team to conduct audits and logical access control tests of networks

  • Create a system that would let immigrants and their employers access online information about visa status

  • Ban the issuance of national ID cards and the nationalizing of driver's licenses.

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