US passes legislation to create Cybersecurity Security Agency
US passes legislation to create Cybersecurity Security Agency

The US House of Representatives on Monday unanimously passed H.R. 3359, a legislation that would redesignate the Department of Homeland Security's National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), the bill, known as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2017, amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002. 

According to a Congressional bill summary, the legislation states that CISA would be “headed by a Director of National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security to lead national efforts to protect and enhance the security and resilience of US cyber-security, emergency communications, and critical infrastructure.”

This restructured agency would consist of a cyber-security division, an infrastructure security division and an emergency communications division.

“With the advancement of technology and our increased dependence on computer networks, nation states, hackers, and cyber-criminals are finding new ways to attack our cyber- infrastructure and expose vulnerabilities,” said McCaul. “This realignment will achieve DHS's goal of creating a standalone operational organisation, focusing on and elevating its vital cyber-security and infrastructure security missions to strengthen the security of digital America and our nation's critical infrastructure.”

A finalised bill must pass both legislative bodies of  the US Congress before US President Donald Trump can sign it into law. 

“I commend the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 3359. I urge the Senate to pass similar legislation,” said newly confirmed DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a cyber-security expert who formerly served as deputy White House chief of staff and, before that, DHS chief of staff.

“As the events of this morning illustrate, our nation's critical infrastructure can often be prime targets for adversaries of all types, including terrorists, nation state and other non-state actors, hackers, and ordinary criminals,” Nielsen continued in a statement, apparently alluding to an attempted terrorist attack on the New York transit system earlier that day. “As the threat landscape shifts and becomes more complex, our approach to security must evolve.”