recommended reading

McCaul: Expect a Major IT Modernization Push after Cyber Executive Order

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas // Evan Vucci/AP

A long-delayed cybersecurity executive order due out from the Trump administration could be a launching pad for a major push to replace outdated government technology, the House Homeland Security Chairman said Thursday.

That modernization drive will likely be led by a modernizing government technology bill, sponsored by committee member Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, which passed the House last Congress but stalled in the Senate, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said at a cybersecurity event hosted by the wireless industry group CTIA.

Hurd is expected to reintroduce that bill soon.

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

“I don’t want to get ahead of the White House, but my sense is you’re going to see a modernization act,” McCaul said.

“Within the federal network system, we have these legacy systems that are very antiquated,” he said, “which makes us more vulnerable to an attack like the [Office of Personnel Management] breach.”

That 2015 breach, linked to the Chinese government, compromised sensitive security clearance information about more than 20 million current and former federal employees and their families.

McCaul expects the cyber executive order to be released “in the near future,” he said.

The chairman also plans to introduce legislation soon to create an independent cybersecurity agency within the Department of Homeland Security that has a more direct line to top department officials, he said.

The White House reviewed that proposal and recently supplied some technical tweaks, which McCaul was waiting on before introducing the bill, he said. The tweaks suggest the White House supports the bill, he said.

McCaul plans to introduce that legislation as a standalone bill, he said, separate from a larger initiative to reauthorize all of DHS’s operations.

The chairman plans to introduce legislation today that would expand the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program, which provides scholarships for information security professionals who agree to work for the government. The new bill would expand that program to include scholarships for graduates who plan to teach cybersecurity at the university level, he said.

McCaul also plans to reintroduce legislation soon to form a high-level commission to investigate the benefits of encryption and the danger it poses when terrorists and criminals communicate using spy-proof systems. McCaul and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., first floated that plan in February 2016 as the FBI was trying to compel Apple to help it crack into an encrypted iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. 

Threatwatch Alert

Social Media Takeover

Qatar News Agency Says Hackers Published Fake Stories

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.