President Donald J. Trump signs the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act on Nov. 16, 2018, in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Here’s What the Government Shutdown Means for DHS Cybersecurity

The partial government shutdown is impacting the cybersecurity mission of the Department of Homeland Security, including stalling development of the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

CISA was created in November when President Trump signed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2018 to elevate the mission of the former National Protection and Programs Directorate within DHS.

Of CISA’s 3,531 employees, 2,008 must continue working without pay until an appropriations bill is passed by Congress and signed by the president, according to a DHS directive released on Dec. 17. That means the agency responsible for protecting the country’s critical infrastructure from physical and cyber threats is being staffed by DHS employees who are not getting paid.

“Almost half of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency workforce is furloughed, and the rest are working without pay,” U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the new chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said in a Jan. 3 statement. “In all, 87 percent of the DHS workforce is reporting to work without pay and without knowing when their next paycheck will come.”

ICYMI: Here’s How the Government Shutdown Affects the Department of Homeland Security

SEE: DHS Cyber Agency Created with Trump Signature; Nielsen Attends

Prior to the shutdown, the agency was expected to present the Office of Management and Budget with an update on its reorganization in January and February, as it is looking to consolidate from eight separate offices into a single headquarters, according to FCW.

“CISA is responsible for protecting the Nation’s critical infrastructure from physical and cyber threats,” reads the CISA webpage, which is not being updated during the shutdown. “This mission requires effective coordination and collaboration among a broad spectrum of government and private sector organizations.”

MORE ON THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: 

Multimedia journalist James Cullum is Managing Editor of Homeland Security Today's Federal Pages. He has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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