Industry lobbies for cybersecurity job to get higher profile within DHS

Industry lobbies for cybersecurity job to get higher profile within DHS
Several major IT trade groups want the Bush administration to boost the status of the cybersecurity chief job within the Homeland Security Department.

Five business groups'the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, the Business Software Alliance, TechNet, the IT Association of America and the Financial Services Roundtable'this month sent a letter to the House and Senate conferees working to reconcile the two versions of HR 10, the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act.

The organizations suggested that the bill specify creation of an assistant secretary for cybersecurity, reporting to the undersecretary for information analysis and infrastructure protection.

Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge said earlier this month that he thought the position should be at the assistant secretary level, but others in the department said he had misspoken and that DHS would make the job a deputy assistant secretary.

'To be clear, we do not believe that level is sufficient,' the groups said in the letter.

'Patience Wait

Senate tweaks homeland, intelligence oversight roles

The Senate is making changes to its committees to improve oversight of homeland security and intelligence, but lawmakers stopped short of implementing any shifts in the allocation of power among entrenched committee chiefs.

Senate leaders rejected the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that it could improve oversight of the intelligence community by giving the Intelligence Committee both authorization and appropriations power. Instead, lawmakers voted to create an Appropriations Subcommittee on Intelligence.

'I don't really see any significant difference' in intelligence oversight, said a former House Republican leadership aide familiar with the legislation. 'It depends on who chairs it, and the makeup of the subcommittee.'

One of the most visible changes is in a title: the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), has been renamed the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In theory, the committee has oversight of the Homeland Security Department. In reality, the Senate elected to leave oversight of several major DHS elements with other committees:
  • The Commerce Committee will continue to oversee the Transportation Security Administration and Coast Guard

  • The Finance Committee will review revenue and commercial operations of the bureaus of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • The Judiciary Committee retains responsibility for issues relating to the Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Border and Transportation Security Directorate and Secret Service and the immigration functions of Customs Enforcement.

'Patience Wait

Plans for massive wireless network take shape

The government has released a detailed description of its plan for the multibillion-dollar Integrated Wireless Network and is asking vendors for comments.

IWN is an effort of the Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury departments to build a wireless voice and data communications network for law enforcement users.

The IWN program office will accept comments until Nov. 1 on the draft solicitation.

The departments have set a floor of $50 million for the system and a ceiling of $10 billion.

The request for comments said the three departments want to replace the existing patchwork of radio systems with an advanced integrated system that can handle data and provide interoperable communications.

The draft said the program office might choose more than one vendor for the task. Several teams already have formed to bid on the project.

'Wilson P. Dizard III


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