DHS Leading the Way in CyberSecurity

by Stephanie Sullivan, Consultant

For anyone new to DHS, or not focused on cybersecurity, it’s important to recognize DHS’s role as a leader in cybersecurity policy across all Civilian agencies. This responsibility was granted to DHS in 2002 when FISMA was signed into law as part of the Electronic Government Act. FISMA assigns responsibilities to various agencies to ensure the security of data across the federal government, with the intent of keeping risks at acceptable levels in a cost-effective, timely and efficient manner. DHS’s role, and maybe more notably NPPD’s Cybersecurity & Communications organization, will monitor and report agency progress ensuring effective implementation of FISMA guidance.

FISMA spending will increase next fiscal year if funding is approved. The estimated outlays would equal $710 million from fiscal year 2013 through 2017. The bump in funding would come as a result of increased continuous monitoring namely under the Cyberscope program.

Cyberscope was created through OMB FISMA guidance in 2009, and is an online tool developed jointly by DOJ and DHS to report monthly metrics from cybersecurity management tools. Cyberscope replaced insecure paper and e-mail based reporting by providing a standard secure dashboard format.

There is also a bill on the table that would increase DHS’ cybersecurity funding by 63% from $459 million to $749 million under a proposed 2013 spending bill by the House Appropriations Committee. The increase would fund new initiatives to improve federal network security and defend against foreign espionage; still leaving cyber funding $20 million shy of the president’s $769 million dollar request.

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