Lawmakers have revealed the Senate version of a Homeland Security reauthorization bill intended to strengthen the department’s cybersecurity mission and its approach to managing its acquisition programs.
Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) shared details of the rewrite of the bill, which would reauthorize DHS for the first time in 15 years and proposes a key reorganization for DHS, transforming the NPDD into the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. “Establishing an agency within DHS to focus on cyber and infrastructure security will help DHS achieve its missions,” Johnson said.
Another likely amendment to the Senate bill is strengthening election systems against cyberattacks. The Secure Elections Act, sponsored by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), would authorize DHS to share election security threats with states, unless the DHS secretary determines a reason not to.
The Senate version of the reauthorization bill also codifies key responsibilities for DHS headquarters and addresses recommendations from GAO and OIG to improve the department’s performance.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) described the bill as a great opportunity for DHS to move forward and address evolving threats. She did call some of the amendments “poison pills,” however, and said she hoped the committee could “take the next week to work through some of the issues with some of these amendments and reach agreements that will result in a bill that still stands a chance of moving through the Senate.”