House homeland committee creates cybersecurity subcommittee

The new House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday created five subcommittees, including one on Cybersecurity, Science and Research & Development to oversee the nation's electronic preparedness.

Members have not been assigned to the new subcommittees, according to the office of the committee's chairman, Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.)

The Homeland Security Committee was formed to coordinate all House oversight of the Homeland Security Department and has legislative jurisdiction over the 2002 act creating the department. All or parts of 22 agencies comprising more than 170,000 employees were incorporated into the new department March 1.

The ranking minority member of the committee is Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas). On Feb. 12, House leaders named 48 additional members to the committee'26 Republicans and 22 Democrats.

The subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science and R&D will oversee 'security of computer, telecommunications, information technology, industrial control, electric infrastructure and data systems, including science, research and development; protection of government and private networks and computer systems from domestic and foreign attack; prevention of injury to civilian populations and physical infrastructure caused by cyber attack, and relevant oversight,' according to Cox's office.

Other subcommittees are:

  • Infrastructure and Border Security, to oversee security of physical infrastructure, ports and borders.

  • Rules, to develop House rules and handle jurisdictional issues.

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response, to oversee preparation for and response to attacks on civilian populations, public health issues and liability; and to coordinate federal, state and local efforts.

  • Intelligence and Counterterrorism, which will focus on liaison and integration of the Homeland Security Department with the intelligence community and law enforcement.

  • Creation of a subcommittee to focus on cybersecurity issues was greeted warmly by the private sector.

    'The establishment underscores the importance of cybersecurity to our critical infrastructures, our economy and our citizens,' said Bill Connor, chairman, CEO and president of Entrust Inc. of McLean, Va.

    'It is essential to recognize that without cybersecurity, there is no physical security,' said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the Business Software Alliance, a trade organization.

    About the Author

    William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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