Press Release

07.30.15

McCaul Introduces Cyber Legislation to Defend Federal Networks

Media Contact: Susan Phalen (202) 226-8477

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With vulnerable federal networks under constant attack and personal information of federal civilian employees being stolen, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, introduced legislation to actively defend federal networks against cyber threats. The Cyber Defense of Federal Networks Act of 2015, H.R. 3313, streamlines the Federal government’s ability to more effectively identify and thwart cyber attacks.

Chairman McCaul has been actively leading efforts to ensure federal agencies are adapting to the ever-changing cyber threats posed by state-sponsored espionage, criminals and terrorists.

“In light of the massive OPM hacks, it’s clear that our nation’s federal digital infrastructure isn’t capable of effectively detecting and defending against these cyber threats,” said McCaul. “Currently, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) hands are tied in responding to ever growing cyber threats. Providing DHS with similar abilities to defend federal networks that the Department of Defense uses to protect military networks is commonsense legislation.”

Recent attacks on the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) networks resulted in more than 21.5 million Americans having their personally sensitive information stolen.

“I would like to commend my colleagues in the Senate for quickly addressing federal network security and I encourage my peers in the House to take action so more Americans won’t have their personal information compromised and sensitive government information stolen,” said McCaul. “This is a bipartisan and bicameral issue to ensure our federal cyber networks are able to defend against nation-states like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea and terrorist threats.”

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, joins as an original co-sponsor to H.R. 3313.

“Following the disastrous breaches at OPM, I convened a hearing to examine the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to secure federal networks. It became readily apparent that although DHS is charged with protecting the .gov domain, the department lacks the authority to carry out this vital mission,” said Ratcliffe. “The ‘Cyber Defense of Federal Networks Act’ is a vital step in ensuring that actions are taken to effectively implement DHS’ binding directives to better secure the .gov domain and all the highly sensitive information it protects.”

H.R. 3313, the Cyber Defense of Federal Networks Act, further strengthens DHS’ abilities to protect the .gov domain to include:

·         deploying enhanced network cybersecurity tools at Federal agencies;

·         ensuring agencies are prioritizing the use of cybersecurity tools;

·         providing increased technical assistance capabilities through incident detection, mitigation, and response information for federal civilian networks; and

·         authorizing the use of protective capabilities immediately when a federal agency is under a cyber attack. 

To see full text of the bill, click here.

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