Nextgov.com reported that cybersecurity will be a top priority for the Republican-led House in 2011, but it is unknown when Congress will act on legislation to revamp an outdated federal cyber law, say aides to incoming GOP leaders.
Details likely will emerge when Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the new vice chairman of the Armed Services Committee, speaks early in the next Congress about defending cyberspace, say information security experts. On December 15, House Speaker-designate John Boehner, R-Ohio, tapped Thornberry "to lead an initiative on cybersecurity that cuts across committee lines." Thornberry aides declined to comment on his agenda this week.
Critics of the current federal cybersecurity mandate, the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act, say it forces agencies to spend time and money documenting efforts to comply with controls instead of executing them. The House in June agreed to reforms that instead would require automated continuous monitoring, demand federal contractors install security features at the start of system development, and empower a cyber czar to recommend the president withhold funding from noncompliant agencies.
The measures were included in a version of the National Defense Authorization Act that the House passed last spring, but a Senate compromise that cleared Congress on Wednesday deleted the FISMA overhaul. To read more, click here.