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Chairman Cox Statement:

Subcommittee on Infrastructure and Border Security and the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science and Research & Development Joint Hearing

Today, the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Infrastructure and Border Security and the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science, and Research and Development held a joint hearing to examine the relationship between the Department of Homeland Security and the critical infrastructure sectors. Chairman Christopher Cox (R-CA) made the following statement:

“The Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate (IAIP) gets a lot of attention because it is truly the nerve center of the new Department of Homeland Security. IAIP is at the heart of DHS’ core mission to prevent terrorism and protect the infrastructure that is vital to the security and economic well-being of our Nation.

“IAIP is tasked with integrating information from various public and private sources to form a comprehensive picture of the terrorist threats we face, and to map this assessment against the vulnerabilities of our critical infrastructure to produce a prioritized and risk-based plan for securing our homeland. This is not a one-time task, but a continuous responsibility, in a dynamic and constantly changing environment.

“We have no choice but to continue to press IAIP to build the analytic capabilities necessary to carry out its mandate under the Homeland Security Act. Risk-based assessments produced by IAIP must guide both the Department’s overall homeland security strategy and the allocation of resources to priority areas.

“Eighty-five percent of our critical infrastructure is owned by the private sector, and it is appropriate that the private sector take a lead role in protecting these assets, with assistance – including the provision of actionable threat-based information – and oversight by the Federal government.

“One key manifestation of the public-private partnership envisioned by the Homeland Security Act is the continued operation of – and in some cases, the creation of new – Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISAC) for critical infrastructure sectors. I wish to examine how the ISAC model has worked so far and whether we need to formalize and fund the ISAC process legislatively.

“As we continue to work with DHS to enhance the public-private partnership, we must resist efforts to make DHS the regulator of more and more sectors of our economy. The Homeland Security Act clearly bars any such role for DHS, and we should alter that formula only with great caution. I see no reason to do so now or for the foreseeable future.”

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