Donovan Introduces Bill to Bolster Country's Cybersecurity Defenses
Washington, DC—June 14, 2016....Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) today introduced the Cyber Preparedness Act to make common-sense adjustments to the country’s cybersecurity procedures. The bill uses ideas proposed at a May cybersecurity hearing chaired by Donovan to improve information sharing between federal, state, and local authorities and to allow homeland security grants to be used for cybersecurity.
Congressman Donovan said, “Information sharing and adjustments to grant rules might sound mundane, but defending against cyber-attack requires attention to every detail. The tweaks made in my bill come directly from expert testimony at a hearing last month, and they’ll have a meaningful impact on cyber defenses.”
In the years following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, state and urban law enforcement agencies established “fusion centers” in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security. Fusion centers are physical workplaces that bring together federal, state, and local agencies to share counterterrorism intelligence and information. The law enforcement community has praised fusion centers for helping close the counterterrorism communication gap that existed before 9/11.
Still, state and local law enforcement agencies sometimes do not receive current information from federal authorities about cyber threats, defensive measures, or best practices. In testimony at the May cybersecurity hearing, Lt. Colonel Daniel J. Cooney, Assistant Deputy Superintendent for the New York State Police Office of Counterterrorism, suggested that federal cybersecurity intelligence is not shared with state and urban fusion centers as quickly as counterterror information is shared.
The Department of Homeland Security operates the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to share information among federal agencies. The Cyber Preparedness Act would allow representatives from state and urban fusion centers to operate out of NCCIC. This would foster improved and more efficient information sharing.
The bill also clarifies that homeland security grants can be used to fund state and local cybersecurity initiatives.