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Expect New DHS Cyber Strategy Soon, Acting Lead Says

Gil C/

The Homeland Security Department hopes to produce a new strategy to protect and defend federal networks within the next couple months and to implement it within two years, the department’s acting cyber lead said Monday.

“I think we can do it and I think we have a lot of support from the administration leadership,” Jeanette Manfra, acting deputy undersecretary for the DHS cyber division, said during a New America think tank cybersecurity conference.

Manfra said she has not seen any evidence President Donald Trump’s feuds with the technology sector have hurt the government’s efforts to recruit top cyber talent.

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During the presidential campaign, Trump urged his supporters to boycott Apple when the company declined to help with the FBI crack into an encrypted iPhone. He also criticized tech firms for moving manufacturing jobs overseas.

DHS continues to support changing the name of Manfra’s division, the National Protection and Programs Directorate, to make its cyber mission more clear, she said.

She stopped short of endorsing a legislative plan to elevate DHS’ cyber mission, which stalled in Congress last year and which Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, has said is a major priority.

The legislation was stalled largely, McCaul has said, because numerous congressional committees share cyber oversight responsibilities.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, speaking later at the conference, slammed the federal government’s “benign neglect” of cybersecurity and urged a congressional oversight reorganization so cyber priorities are centralized in a single committee.

McAuliffe also urged Congress to act on a federal breach notification standard similarly stalled in Congress. 

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