Chairman Ratcliffe highlights DHS’ critical cybersecurity mission
WASHINGTON – Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) chaired a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection hearing today to examine how the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) is carrying out the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity mission.
“We have to get this right because new technologies – the internet of things, driverless cars, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing – are rapidly evolving,” Ratcliffe said.
“We need to be securing at the speed of innovation – not of bureaucracy. Because we are in an era that requires flexibility, resiliency and discipline, and I hope I will hear those values operationalized in the forthcoming testimony.”
In the hearing, the Subcommittee heard from top NPPD officials, including Christopher Krebs and Jeanette Manfra from DHS, as well as Patricia Hoffman from the Energy Department.
The witnesses reaffirmed NPPD’s ongoing commitment to securing and defending federal networks and facilities, identifying and mitigating critical infrastructure’s systemic risks, and incentivizing and broadly enabling enhanced cyber and physical security practices.
They went on to highlight NPPD’s work in response to global cyber incidents, such as the “WannaCry” ransomware incident and the “NotPetya” malware incident earlier this year.
As a precaution, NPPD helped stakeholders identify vulnerabilities on their networks and shared additional mitigation guidance to assist networks before these incidents occurred. Then, as these incidents unfolded, NPPD worked with interagency partners to provide situational awareness, information sharing, malware analysis, and technical assistance to affected parties, witnesses said.
The hearing also included discussion about agencies’ planned use of NPPD reorganization legislation (H.R. 3359), which passed in Homeland Security Committee earlier this year to further advance DHS’ cybersecurity mission.
Krebs confirmed the importance of this legislation and encouraged swift action to advance it in the full House and Senate.
“If enacted, this bill would mature and streamline NPPD, and rename our organization to clearly reflect our essential mission and our role in securing cyberspace. The Department strongly supports this much-needed effort and encourages swift action by the full House and the Senate,” he said.
Manfra agreed and said, “A name for our organization that reflects our mission is essential to our workforce recruitment efforts and effective stakeholder engagement. We must also ensure that NPPD is appropriately organized to address cybersecurity threats both now and in the future, and we appreciate this Committee’s leadership.”