Believe it or not, the House Tuesday passed bipartisan legislation to codify a cybersecurity program at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The bill grants Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen the ability to establish the Continuous Diagnostics Mitigation (CDM) program at the agency. The program aims to protect federal networks from cyberattacks.
This bill would bring CDM into the second of its four phases of implementation, after DHS officials spent the past few years looking at the software utilized on federal networks and looking for potential vulnerabilities.
DHS initially started the CDM program in 2012 in an effort to better protect federal networks from cyberattacks.
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee subpanel on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, described the “state of our nation’s cyber readiness and resilience” as “deeply troubling” ahead of the vote on the bill.
“Making sure federal agencies have access to the tools and capabilities they need to defend their networks, and perhaps even more importantly getting DHS the data to understand cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities and to coordinate our federal network defenses, is a paramount concern in this day and age,” Ratcliffe said.
The Texas Republican also highlighted an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review from earlier this year that found nearly 75 percent of federal agencies are vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The House Homeland Security Committee had advanced the bill in July, and the federal government awarded a $621 million, six year-long contract to Booz Allen Hamilton earlier this year to start implementing the next three phases of CDM.