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For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 29, 2004

 

 

Letter From Homeland Security Committee To Secretary Ridge Urges Greater Attention To Cybersecurity

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Homeland Security Chairman Christopher Cox (R-CA), Ranking Member Jim Turner (D-TX), Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science, & Research and Development Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), and Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science, & Research and Development Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) sent a letter to Secretary Tom Ridge requesting a detailed implementation plan that links the Department's cyber program and budget needs to the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace and requesting the Secretary's views on both the effectiveness and organizational placement of the National Cybersecurity Division. Following is the text of the letter sent to Secretary Ridge today:

Dear Secretary Ridge:

The Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science, and Research and Development, of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, is responsible for, among other things, oversight of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) cybersecurity mission and associated research and development. Over the past year, the Subcommittee has held several hearings and briefings to explore the Department's cybersecurity program, particularly the work conducted within the Infrastructure Protection Division. We have also engaged the private sector and academia on these important cybersecurity issues.

Among the Subcommittee's oversight responsibilities is ensuring that the Department is taking appropriate measures to prevent cyber attacks against America's critical infrastructures, to reduce the nation's vulnerability to cyber attacks, and to minimize damage and reduce recovery time from cyber attacks that do occur. We would appreciate your attention and timely response to the following two requests. First, the Subcommittee requests details on the Department's implementation of the President's February 2003 National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. While we are aware of actions taken by the Department over the past year that relate to portions of the strategy, and while we are cognizant that other parts of the federal government have responsibilities for implementing portions of the strategy, we have not yet reviewed a baseline DHS action plan to measure progress and ensure adequate resources devoted to cybersecurity.

. We request a detailed action or implementation plan that links the Department's cyber program and budget needs to the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. (See Attachment 1.)

Second, we are committed to seeing to it that the National Cybersecurity Division (NCSD), which was created in June 2003 to implement the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, has the resources to fulfill its mission. We are particularly sensitive to the challenges you face in fully integrating various elements from previously existing organizations into the NCSD. Likewise, we are aware that there remain cybersecurity operational and policy functions within entities such as the National Communications System that could profitably be integrated within the NCSD. Finally, we wish to insure that NCSD is appropriately placed as an element within the Infrastructure Protection organization, perhaps reporting directly to the Undersecretary for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection, or to you.

. We would appreciate receiving your views on both the effectiveness and organizational placement of the National Cybersecurity Division. (See Attachment 2.)

We would appreciate a response no later than May 10, 2004. We solicit your views on these topics in connection with our ongoing work on the Department of Homeland Security Fiscal Year 2005 Authorization Bill. To permit our evaluation of this information prior to the consideration of this legislation, receiving the Department's information deemed classified should be annotated in the submission, and provided separately in response to this letter. Classified information will be reviewed in a secure facility by those members of the Committee and its staff having the appropriate level of clearance. If you have any questions about this request, please contact Majority Staff member Kim Kotlar at 225-3706 or Minority Staff member Jessica Herrera at 226-8887.

Sincerely,

Christopher Cox Chairman

Jim Turner Ranking Member

Mac Thornberry Chairman Cybersecurity, Science & Research and Development Subcommittee Zoe Lofgren Ranking Member Cybersecurity, Science & Research and Development Subcommittee