Author: Homeland Security

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Civil Rights Groups Are Fighting to Read Homeland Security's Mysterious 'Race Paper'

Image: Ted S. Warren (AP)

Two civil rights groups, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Color of Change (COR), have filed a motion[1] asking a judge to force the Department of Homeland Security to un-redact a mysterious document known as the “Race Paper.” Following FOIA requests, the DHS turned over hundreds of pages to CCR and COR, but has fought releasing the so-called “Race Paper,” as its referred to in internal DHS emails. Little is known about the document, including its actual title, though COR and CCR believe it is potentially related to data-driven surveillance of protestors.

In 2016, CCR and COR, assisted by the Kramer Law Center, filed FOIA requests for documents relating to FBI and DHS surveillance of Black Lives Matter protestors. The DHS responded with hundreds of documents, including emails from the early months of the Trump administration in which DHS agents talked about composing and editing the “Race Paper.”

However, when the DHS handed the mysterious “race paper” over to the civil rights groups, it was redacted into oblivion, with nine full pages of completely obscured text.
[2]

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Little is known about this document, but lawyers believe it may be related to surveillance of Black Lives Matter protestors. All references to its actual name have been redacted.

“There’s not too much wiggle room when something is called ‘The Race Papers,’” Stephanie Llanes, one of the CCR lawyers filing the motion, told Gizmodo.

Here’s what we know for sure: the paper is a nine-page document put out by members of the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The DHS worked on its creation for months, producing multiple draft versions, all of which have been redacted. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis specializes in “information sharing and delivering predictive intelligence and analysis.” The office operates a network of Fusion Centers[3], which specialize in intelligence collection, analysis, and sharing between “state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners.” It follows, then, the paper may relate to predictive technology or surveillance.

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“One of the emails says that the person included a section on ‘drivers and indications,’” Llanes said. “Given what [the Office of Intelligence and Analysis] does, which is predictive intelligence, it just raises serious concerns of the relationship between racial identity and drivers of future behavior.”

It’s speculative, but police have used data analysis to surveil[4] minority protestors in the past. From Massachusetts to Missouri, officers have used complex data-mining software[5] that could provide the locations of social media users to monitor protestors using the #BlackLivesMatter or #MuslimLivesMatter hashtags.

Being asked to produce the “Race Paper” and then handing over nine all-black pages might seem like a cheeky response, but, incredibly, the DHS argued that the documents, redactions intact, satisfy the FOIA request. The DHS insisted it is exempt from releasing all preliminary versions of the document because, as they were draft versions, they “wouldn’t be an accurate assessment of what the agency thinks,” Llanes explains.

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However, the DHS redacted all versions of the document, including the final version, which seemingly would accurately represent the agency’s stance. DHS argued that even partially redacting the final version would threaten national security by revealing sensitive information about how the agency operates.

“They haven’t explained at all how that would be the case. A government agency cant just make this broad, sweeping argument… without explaining how so,” Llanes said. “They still have to un-redact parts of the document that are purely factual, based on publicly available information, [or] would not reveal the pre-deliberative [assessment].”

CCR lawyers are arguing that, under FOIA law, the DHS has a duty to un-redact passages that are based on unclassified facts or public knowledge. By completely redacting every single word, including even the title of the document, the DHS is essentially claiming that every single detail of the “race paper” is, to some degree, sensitive, classified, or private.

Advertisement

The next step in the case is for the DHS to reply to the motion. If they deny the lawyers’ claims, the case would move onto oral arguments.

[The Intercept[6]]

References

  1. ^ have filed a motion (ccrjustice.org)
  2. ^ race paper (ccrjustice.org)
  3. ^ Fusion Centers (www.dhs.gov)
  4. ^ used data analysis to surveil (gizmodo.com)
  5. ^ complex data-mining software (www.usatoday.com)
  6. ^ The Intercept (theintercept.com)
0

Civil Rights Groups Are Fighting to Read Homeland Security's Mysterious 'Race Paper'

Image: Ted S. Warren (AP)

Two civil rights groups, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Color of Change (COR), have filed a motion[1] asking a judge to force the Department of Homeland Security to un-redact a mysterious document known as the “Race Paper.” Following FOIA requests, the DHS turned over hundreds of pages to CCR and COR, but has fought releasing the so-called “Race Paper,” as its referred to in internal DHS emails. Little is known about the document, including its actual title, though COR and CCR believe it is potentially related to data-driven surveillance of protestors.

In 2016, CCR and COR, assisted by the Kramer Law Center, filed FOIA requests for documents relating to FBI and DHS surveillance of Black Lives Matter protestors. The DHS responded with hundreds of documents, including emails from the early months of the Trump administration in which DHS agents talked about composing and editing the “Race Paper.”

However, when the DHS handed the mysterious “race paper” over to the civil rights groups, it was redacted into oblivion, with nine full pages of completely obscured text.
[2]

Advertisement

Little is known about this document, but lawyers believe it may be related to surveillance of Black Lives Matter protestors. All references to its actual name have been redacted.

“There’s not too much wiggle room when something is called ‘The Race Papers,’” Stephanie Llanes, one of the CCR lawyers filing the motion, told Gizmodo.

Here’s what we know for sure: the paper is a nine-page document put out by members of the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The DHS worked on its creation for months, producing multiple draft versions, all of which have been redacted. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis specializes in “information sharing and delivering predictive intelligence and analysis.” The office operates a network of Fusion Centers[3], which specialize in intelligence collection, analysis, and sharing between “state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners.” It follows, then, the paper may relate to predictive technology or surveillance.

Advertisement

“One of the emails says that the person included a section on ‘drivers and indications,’” Llanes said. “Given what [the Office of Intelligence and Analysis] does, which is predictive intelligence, it just raises serious concerns of the relationship between racial identity and drivers of future behavior.”

It’s speculative, but police have used data analysis to surveil[4] minority protestors in the past. From Massachusetts to Missouri, officers have used complex data-mining software[5] that could provide the locations of social media users to monitor protestors using the #BlackLivesMatter or #MuslimLivesMatter hashtags.

Being asked to produce the “Race Paper” and then handing over nine all-black pages might seem like a cheeky response, but, incredibly, the DHS argued that the documents, redactions intact, satisfy the FOIA request. The DHS insisted it is exempt from releasing all preliminary versions of the document because, as they were draft versions, they “wouldn’t be an accurate assessment of what the agency thinks,” Llanes explains.

Advertisement

However, the DHS redacted all versions of the document, including the final version, which seemingly would accurately represent the agency’s stance. DHS argued that even partially redacting the final version would threaten national security by revealing sensitive information about how the agency operates.

“They haven’t explained at all how that would be the case. A government agency cant just make this broad, sweeping argument… without explaining how so,” Llanes said. “They still have to un-redact parts of the document that are purely factual, based on publicly available information, [or] would not reveal the pre-deliberative [assessment].”

CCR lawyers are arguing that, under FOIA law, the DHS has a duty to un-redact passages that are based on unclassified facts or public knowledge. By completely redacting every single word, including even the title of the document, the DHS is essentially claiming that every single detail of the “race paper” is, to some degree, sensitive, classified, or private.

Advertisement

The next step in the case is for the DHS to reply to the motion. If they deny the lawyers’ claims, the case would move onto oral arguments.

[The Intercept[6]]

References

  1. ^ have filed a motion (ccrjustice.org)
  2. ^ race paper (ccrjustice.org)
  3. ^ Fusion Centers (www.dhs.gov)
  4. ^ used data analysis to surveil (gizmodo.com)
  5. ^ complex data-mining software (www.usatoday.com)
  6. ^ The Intercept (theintercept.com)
0

Civil Rights Groups Are Fighting to Read Homeland Security's …

Image: Ted S. Warren (AP)

Two civil rights groups, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Color of Change (COR), have filed a motion[1] asking a judge to force the Department of Homeland Security to un-redact a mysterious document known as the “Race Paper.” Following FOIA requests, the DHS turned over hundreds of pages to CCR and COR, but has fought releasing the so-called “Race Paper,” as its referred to in internal DHS emails. Little is known about the document, including its actual title, though COR and CCR believe it is potentially related to data-driven surveillance of protestors.

In 2016, CCR and COR, assisted by the Kramer Law Center, filed FOIA requests for documents relating to FBI and DHS surveillance of Black Lives Matter protestors. The DHS responded with hundreds of documents, including emails from the early months of the Trump administration in which DHS agents talked about composing and editing the “Race Paper.”

However, when the DHS handed the mysterious “race paper” over to the civil rights groups, it was redacted into oblivion, with nine full pages of completely obscured text.
[2]

Advertisement

Little is known about this document, but lawyers believe it may be related to surveillance of Black Lives Matter protestors. All references to its actual name have been redacted.

“There’s not too much wiggle room when something is called ‘The Race Papers,’” Stephanie Llanes, one of the CCR lawyers filing the motion, told Gizmodo.

Here’s what we know for sure: the paper is a nine-page document put out by members of the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The DHS worked on its creation for months, producing multiple draft versions, all of which have been redacted. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis specializes in “information sharing and delivering predictive intelligence and analysis.” The office operates a network of Fusion Centers[3], which specialize in intelligence collection, analysis, and sharing between “state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners.” It follows, then, the paper may relate to predictive technology or surveillance.

Advertisement

“One of the emails says that the person included a section on ‘drivers and indications,’” Llanes said. “Given what [the Office of Intelligence and Analysis] does, which is predictive intelligence, it just raises serious concerns of the relationship between racial identity and drivers of future behavior.”

It’s speculative, but police have used data analysis to surveil[4] minority protestors in the past. From Massachusetts to Missouri, officers have used complex data-mining software[5] that could provide the locations of social media users to monitor protestors using the #BlackLivesMatter or #MuslimLivesMatter hashtags.

Being asked to produce the “Race Paper” and then handing over nine all-black pages might seem like a cheeky response, but, incredibly, the DHS argued that the documents, redactions intact, satisfy the FOIA request. The DHS insisted it is exempt from releasing all preliminary versions of the document because, as they were draft versions, they “wouldn’t be an accurate assessment of what the agency thinks,” Llanes explains.

Advertisement

However, the DHS redacted all versions of the document, including the final version, which seemingly would accurately represent the agency’s stance. DHS argued that even partially redacting the final version would threaten national security by revealing sensitive information about how the agency operates.

“They haven’t explained at all how that would be the case. A government agency cant just make this broad, sweeping argument… without explaining how so,” Llanes said. “They still have to un-redact parts of the document that are purely factual, based on publicly available information, [or] would not reveal the pre-deliberative [assessment].”

CCR lawyers are arguing that, under FOIA law, the DHS has a duty to un-redact passages that are based on unclassified facts or public knowledge. By completely redacting every single word, including even the title of the document, the DHS is essentially claiming that every single detail of the “race paper” is, to some degree, sensitive, classified, or private.

Advertisement

The next step in the case is for the DHS to reply to the motion. If they deny the lawyers’ claims, the case would move onto oral arguments.

[The Intercept[6]]

References

  1. ^ have filed a motion (ccrjustice.org)
  2. ^ race paper (ccrjustice.org)
  3. ^ Fusion Centers (www.dhs.gov)
  4. ^ used data analysis to surveil (gizmodo.com)
  5. ^ complex data-mining software (www.usatoday.com)
  6. ^ The Intercept (theintercept.com)
0

House approves legislation to authorize Homeland Security cyber teams

House lawmakers on Monday passed legislation that would codify into law the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber incident response teams that help protect federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. 

Lawmakers passed the bill, sponsored by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulWhite House blames ‘Schumer Democrats’ for defeat of Trump immigration plan Overnight Cybersecurity: House Intel votes to release Dem countermemo | Hacking threats loom over 2018 Olympics | Booz Allen scores major DHS cyber contract McCain, Coons immigration bill sparks Trump backlash MORE[2][3][4][5][6][1] (R-Texas), in a voice vote Monday afternoon.

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The legislation would authorize[7] the “cyber hunt and incident response teams” at Homeland Security to help owners and operators of critical infrastructure respond to cyberattacks as well as provide strategies for mitigating cybersecurity risks.

The bill would also allow Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenUnder pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion Top state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report Homeland Security chief touts effort on election cybersecurity MORE[9][10][11][12][13][8] to add cybersecurity specialists from the private sector to the response teams.

It would require that Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center — the office in which the response teams are housed — continually evaluate the response teams and report to Congress on their efforts at the end of each fiscal year for four years after the bill becomes law.

The House Homeland Security Committee approved the bill earlier this month.

“My legislation before us today, codifies and enhances the cyber incident response teams at DHS,” McCaul said in remarks on Monday.

“By fostering new collaboration between the government and private sector, we can harness our talent and maximize our efforts to stay one step ahead of our enemies,” McCaul said. “This innovative approach serves as a force multiplier to enhance our cybersecurity workforce. Being able to utilize a greater number of experts will strengthen efforts to protect our cyber networks.”

As part of its broad mission, Homeland Security is responsible for protecting civilian federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

References

  1. ^ Michael McCaul (thehill.com)
  2. ^ Michael Thomas McCaul (thehill.com)
  3. ^ White House blames ‘Schumer Democrats’ for defeat of Trump immigration plan (thehill.com)
  4. ^ Overnight Cybersecurity: House Intel votes to release Dem countermemo | Hacking threats loom over 2018 Olympics | Booz Allen scores major DHS cyber contract (thehill.com)
  5. ^ McCain, Coons immigration bill sparks Trump backlash (thehill.com)
  6. ^ MORE (thehill.com)
  7. ^ legislation would authorize (docs.house.gov)
  8. ^ Kirstjen Nielsen (thehill.com)
  9. ^ Kirstjen Michele Nielsen (thehill.com)
  10. ^ Under pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion (thehill.com)
  11. ^ Top state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report (thehill.com)
  12. ^ Homeland Security chief touts effort on election cybersecurity (thehill.com)
  13. ^ MORE (thehill.com)
0

House approves legislation to authorize Homeland Security cyber teams

House lawmakers on Monday passed legislation that would codify into law the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber incident response teams that help protect federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. 

Lawmakers passed the bill, sponsored by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulWhite House blames ‘Schumer Democrats’ for defeat of Trump immigration plan Overnight Cybersecurity: House Intel votes to release Dem countermemo | Hacking threats loom over 2018 Olympics | Booz Allen scores major DHS cyber contract McCain, Coons immigration bill sparks Trump backlash MORE[2][3][4][5][6][1] (R-Texas), in a voice vote Monday afternoon.

The legislation would authorize[7] the “cyber hunt and incident response teams” at Homeland Security to help owners and operators of critical infrastructure respond to cyberattacks as well as provide strategies for mitigating cybersecurity risks.

The bill would also allow Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenUnder pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion Top state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report Homeland Security chief touts effort on election cybersecurity MORE[9][10][11][12][13][8] to add cybersecurity specialists from the private sector to the response teams.

It would require that Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center — the office in which the response teams are housed — continually evaluate the response teams and report to Congress on their efforts at the end of each fiscal year for four years after the bill becomes law.

The House Homeland Security Committee approved the bill earlier this month.

“My legislation before us today, codifies and enhances the cyber incident response teams at DHS,” McCaul said in remarks on Monday.

“By fostering new collaboration between the government and private sector, we can harness our talent and maximize our efforts to stay one step ahead of our enemies,” McCaul said. “This innovative approach serves as a force multiplier to enhance our cybersecurity workforce. Being able to utilize a greater number of experts will strengthen efforts to protect our cyber networks.”

As part of its broad mission, Homeland Security is responsible for protecting civilian federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

References

  1. ^ Michael McCaul (thehill.com)
  2. ^ Michael Thomas McCaul (thehill.com)
  3. ^ White House blames ‘Schumer Democrats’ for defeat of Trump immigration plan (thehill.com)
  4. ^ Overnight Cybersecurity: House Intel votes to release Dem countermemo | Hacking threats loom over 2018 Olympics | Booz Allen scores major DHS cyber contract (thehill.com)
  5. ^ McCain, Coons immigration bill sparks Trump backlash (thehill.com)
  6. ^ MORE (thehill.com)
  7. ^ legislation would authorize (docs.house.gov)
  8. ^ Kirstjen Nielsen (thehill.com)
  9. ^ Kirstjen Michele Nielsen (thehill.com)
  10. ^ Under pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion (thehill.com)
  11. ^ Top state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report (thehill.com)
  12. ^ Homeland Security chief touts effort on election cybersecurity (thehill.com)
  13. ^ MORE (thehill.com)
0

House approves legislation to authorize Homeland Security cyber teams

House lawmakers on Monday passed legislation that would codify into law the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber incident response teams that help protect federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. 

Lawmakers passed the bill, sponsored by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulWhite House blames ‘Schumer Democrats’ for defeat of Trump immigration plan Overnight Cybersecurity: House Intel votes to release Dem countermemo | Hacking threats loom over 2018 Olympics | Booz Allen scores major DHS cyber contract McCain, Coons immigration bill sparks Trump backlash MORE[2][3][4][5][6][1] (R-Texas), in a voice vote Monday afternoon.

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The legislation would authorize[7] the “cyber hunt and incident response teams” at Homeland Security to help owners and operators of critical infrastructure respond to cyberattacks as well as provide strategies for mitigating cybersecurity risks.

The bill would also allow Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenUnder pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion Top state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report Homeland Security chief touts effort on election cybersecurity MORE[9][10][11][12][13][8] to add cybersecurity specialists from the private sector to the response teams.

It would require that Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center — the office in which the response teams are housed — continually evaluate the response teams and report to Congress on their efforts at the end of each fiscal year for four years after the bill becomes law.

The House Homeland Security Committee approved the bill earlier this month.

“My legislation before us today, codifies and enhances the cyber incident response teams at DHS,” McCaul said in remarks on Monday.

“By fostering new collaboration between the government and private sector, we can harness our talent and maximize our efforts to stay one step ahead of our enemies,” McCaul said. “This innovative approach serves as a force multiplier to enhance our cybersecurity workforce. Being able to utilize a greater number of experts will strengthen efforts to protect our cyber networks.”

As part of its broad mission, Homeland Security is responsible for protecting civilian federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

References

  1. ^ Michael McCaul (thehill.com)
  2. ^ Michael Thomas McCaul (thehill.com)
  3. ^ White House blames ‘Schumer Democrats’ for defeat of Trump immigration plan (thehill.com)
  4. ^ Overnight Cybersecurity: House Intel votes to release Dem countermemo | Hacking threats loom over 2018 Olympics | Booz Allen scores major DHS cyber contract (thehill.com)
  5. ^ McCain, Coons immigration bill sparks Trump backlash (thehill.com)
  6. ^ MORE (thehill.com)
  7. ^ legislation would authorize (docs.house.gov)
  8. ^ Kirstjen Nielsen (thehill.com)
  9. ^ Kirstjen Michele Nielsen (thehill.com)
  10. ^ Under pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion (thehill.com)
  11. ^ Top state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report (thehill.com)
  12. ^ Homeland Security chief touts effort on election cybersecurity (thehill.com)
  13. ^ MORE (thehill.com)
0

Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program

The CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program shapes the policies needed to enhance U.S. and global security in the 21st Century.

The United States continues to face the evolving threat of international and domestic terrorism, as well as an emerging set of challenges in securing borders, developing national and community resilience against natural disasters, and ensuring the continued security of critical infrastructure. The Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program analyzes how the United States and other countries work toward these goals, especially in an age of limited budgets and difficult decisions. It considers the measures that nations can take—such as creating a national infrastructure that is resistant to physical damage, enhancing resilience, or increasing cross-agency cooperation—to enhance their domestic security.

Past initiatives include studies on disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and resilience; the evolving dynamics of South Asian militancy; international homeland security cooperation; “homegrown” extremism in the United States; the future of al Qaeda and its affiliates; and information sharing in law enforcement and counterterrorism.

The project aims to serve as a leading voice in the national and global conversation on homeland security and counterterrorism issues. 

  Publications by subject

Most Recent

Congressional Testimony

March 15, 2018

Report

February 14, 2018

Podcast Episode

August 21, 2017

On Demand Event

May 25, 2017

In the News

FCW[1] | Sean D. Carberry

March 6, 2017

On Demand Event

June 29, 2016

Commentary

March 4, 2016

Report

February 4, 2016

Featured Projects

References

  1. ^ FCW (fcw.com)
0

Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program

The CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program shapes the policies needed to enhance U.S. and global security in the 21st Century.

The United States continues to face the evolving threat of international and domestic terrorism, as well as an emerging set of challenges in securing borders, developing national and community resilience against natural disasters, and ensuring the continued security of critical infrastructure. The Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program analyzes how the United States and other countries work toward these goals, especially in an age of limited budgets and difficult decisions. It considers the measures that nations can take—such as creating a national infrastructure that is resistant to physical damage, enhancing resilience, or increasing cross-agency cooperation—to enhance their domestic security.

Past initiatives include studies on disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and resilience; the evolving dynamics of South Asian militancy; international homeland security cooperation; “homegrown” extremism in the United States; the future of al Qaeda and its affiliates; and information sharing in law enforcement and counterterrorism.

The project aims to serve as a leading voice in the national and global conversation on homeland security and counterterrorism issues. 

  Publications by subject

Most Recent

Congressional Testimony

March 15, 2018

Report

February 14, 2018

Podcast Episode

August 21, 2017

On Demand Event

May 25, 2017

In the News

FCW[1] | Sean D. Carberry

March 6, 2017

On Demand Event

June 29, 2016

Commentary

March 4, 2016

Report

February 4, 2016

Featured Projects

References

  1. ^ FCW (fcw.com)
0

5 Things You May Have Missed in the Homeland Security Reauthorization Bill

The Homeland Security Department must launch a program offering cash rewards for hackable computer vulnerabilities discovered by non-government researchers under a reauthorization bill a Senate committee advanced last week.

The program, known as a bug bounty, would be limited to the department’s public-facing apps, websites and web tools, according to an amendment[1] to the reauthorization bill[2] the Senate Homeland Security Committee forwarded March 7.

The amendment, which was adopted on a voice vote, was sponsored by Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., who also sponsored a standalone version of the bug bounty bill that the committee passed[3] in October.

Bug bounties are increasingly prevalent among major tech firms, such as Google and Microsoft, but are less common in government. The Pentagon, Army and Air Force have all run pilot bug bounties in recent years, but the civilian government has been more wary of the programs.

The amendment provides $250,000 to carry out the bug bounty program and requires a report to Congress six months later about who participated in the program, what they found and how much Homeland Security paid out for vulnerabilities

The bug bounty provision was not included in a House version of the reauthorization bill, which passed[4] that chamber in December, though a standalone version[5] of the plan was introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif.

Cyber R&D Back to S&T

A separate amendment[6] to the Senate reauthorization bill would return authority for Homeland Security’s cybersecurity research and development programs to the department’s science and technology division.

The Trump administration shifted[7] that responsibility in its most recent budget proposal to the department’s cyber operations agency.

The move followed complaints that the Science and Technology Directorate’s cyber research was not closely aligned enough with the department’s immediate cybersecurity concerns.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., specifies major focus areas for the department’s cyber research, including cyber defense technologies, advanced encryption tools and ways to monitor systems for insider threats.

CISA’s on a Roll

In general, the Senate version of the reauthorization bill, sponsored by Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and ranking member Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., wraps in more priorities, while the House version is more pared back.

A proposal to elevate and rename the department’s main cyber division, for example, was included in the Senate legislation but not in the House where it passed as a standalone bill.

Both the House and Senate versions of that provision would rename the division that’s currently called the National Protection and Programs Directorate, or NPPD, as the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA.

That agency would have a director who reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security and assistant directors for cybersecurity and infrastructure security.

The Senate bill mandates a report from CISA within six months about the most efficient and effective way for the new agency to consolidate its facilities, personnel and programs.

A separate report, due within three months, would focus on how the agency is filling its cyber workforce needs.

The bill also mandates a privacy officer at CISA who’s responsible, among other things, for “ensuring that the use of technologies by the agency sustain, and do not erode, privacy protections relating to the use, collection, and disclosure of personal information.”

If a compromise version of the reauthorization bills becomes law it will mark the first time Homeland Security’s work has been codified in statute since the department was formed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Let’s Form a Commission

The Senate version of the reauthorization bill also breaks with its House counterpart by appointing a congressional commission to explore ways to pare back the morass of overlapping congressional committees that Homeland Security agencies must report to.

That complicated oversight structure is largely a result of Homeland Security’s ad hoc composition out of existing divisions and offices moved from other federal agencies.  

Johnson championed[8] the idea of a congressional commission early in the reauthorizing process and the idea was largely supported by Republicans and Democrats on the committee.

As described in the Senate bill, the commission would include six members—three Republicans and three Democrats—who would provide recommendations for reforming the department’s congressional reporting lines within nine months.

The commission would be able to hire staff and consultants and hold hearings with funding provided by Homeland Security. That funding could not exceed $1 million, according to the bill.

Commission members would be appointed two each by the Senate majority and minority leaders and one each by the House majority and minority leaders. All recommendations would require a majority vote of commissioners before being included in the final report.

Cloud Security as a Service

The Senate bill also mandates a report within four months on how Homeland Security is helping other civilian agencies ensure the cybersecurity of their computer cloud-based systems.

That report must include a briefing on the department’s efforts to provide “security operations center as a service” to agencies that lack the resources or expertise to manage their own security operations centers, or SOCs. SOCs are essentially central command centers where an organization evaluates and responds to cyber threats.

A group of technology advisers to the White House urged Homeland Security to consider developing such services in a December report[9].

The report must also focus on how Homeland Security is helping agencies buy commercial SOC services and how it’s adapting its Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program—essentially a suite of cybersecurity services the department provides to other agencies—for the cloud era.

Other provisions in the Senate reauthorization bill would:

  • Order a report within three months on U.S. cooperative efforts with China to combat illegal opioids shipments, including through dark web drug markets.
  • Order a report within four months on results, obstacles and future plans for cybersecurity grant funds provided by the department.
  • Establish a cyber workforce exchange[10] between Homeland Security and the private sector.
  • Require better communication between department divisions about contractors that have been barred or suspended from receiving federal contracts.
  • Urge the department to share as much unclassified cyber threat information as possible with state, local and tribal governments.
  • Require a report within six months on possible dangers of blockchain technology, including the possibility of individuals and nations using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to fund terrorist groups.  
  • Offer cash rewards to Homeland Security employees who report waste, fraud and abuse to government watchdogs.
  • Order a report from the department’s chief human capital officer on possible improvements to a Homeland Security career rotation program that’s meant to help employees broaden their experience and expertise.

References

  1. ^ amendment (www.nextgov.com)
  2. ^ reauthorization bill (www.nextgov.com)
  3. ^ passed (www.hassan.senate.gov)
  4. ^ passed (www.nextgov.com)
  5. ^ version (www.congress.gov)
  6. ^ amendment (www.nextgov.com)
  7. ^ shifted (www.nextgov.com)
  8. ^ championed (www.nextgov.com)
  9. ^ December report (itmodernization.cio.gov)
  10. ^ cyber workforce exchange (www.harris.senate.gov)
0

Secretary of Homeland Security visits San Diego

Xavier came up just short of the Final Four a year ago, losing to eventual finalist Gonzaga in the Elite Eight. San Diego State University received the 11th seed in the West Region of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and will face sixth-seeded Houston Thursday in Wichita, Kansas.

 [1]

Xavier came up just short of the Final Four a year ago, losing to eventual finalist Gonzaga in the Elite Eight. San Diego State University received the 11th seed in the West Region of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and will face sixth-seeded Houston Thursday in Wichita, Kansas.

 [2]

References

  1. ^   (www.cbs8.com)
  2. ^   (www.cbs8.com)