DHS offers lawmakers details on new cybersecurity info center

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A Department of Homeland Security official elaborated a bit more — albeit a very little bit — on how the new Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will work in concert with other cybersecurity units already in use at the department.

Andy Ozment, the assistant secretary in DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, said CTIIC will support what the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center does. Ozment also said that NCCIC, along with the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team will be more operational, acting on intelligence that CTIIC gathers.

“As you know, NPPD and NCCIC are not part of the intelligence community, they are not a law enforcement organization,” Ozment told Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee.

The description is vaguely similar to the way White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel described the inner workings of CTIIC Wednesday, saying the newly formed center is a support system for the government information-sharing initiatives.

“For the moment, we see this like a government back office that can enable the centers to do their job better and enable the White House to do better coordination functions with the agencies,” Daniel said Wednesday.

Ozment also spent time laying out what exactly would be shuttered at DHS if the agency is forced to shut down when its funding runs out at the end of the month. Two agency cybersecurity initiatives would be affected: EINSTEIN-3, an intrusion detection system for the federal government, would be shutdown, as well as a contract tied to continuous diagnostics and mitigation, known as CDM.

“With CDM, we’re on the verge of issuing a contract,” Ozment told the subcommittee. “It would delay issuance of this award.”

Funding of DHS has currently stalled in the Senate as Republicans are using the agency’s budget to fight against President Barack Obama’s immigration plan.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said that not only cripples the department’s cybersecurity efforts, but it halts work done in the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, stops the Federal Emergency Management Agency in its track and is a “blow to already low morale” across the agency.

“This is no place for the majority to showboat against immigration reform,” Thompson said.

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Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM), Cybersecurity, EINSTEIN, Government IT News, Homeland Security, Tech
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