The passage last week of the National Defense Authorization Act included a key amendment sponsored by House Democrats geared to improving both the efficiency and accountability of top government honchos charged with protecting the nation’s computer networks.
As eSecurity Planet reports, the amendment calls for the creation of a National Office for Cyberspace within the White House and establish uniform standards and policies for compliance and coordination between various government agencies.
It also more clearly defines the requirements for government IT staffs outlined in the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) of 2002, which has often come under criticism for placing more of a focus on compliance than achieving real security.
The defense authorization bill now heads to the Senate, which is set to take up debate on the issue following the Memorial Day recess.
House Democrats have secured passage of an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would establish a formal cybersecurity office in the White House and update federal compliance requirements for securing electronic data.
On Friday, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 229 to 186, which included an amendment co-authored by Reps. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) and Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) that achieved many of the provisions outlined in separate pieces of legislation introduced earlier by the lawmakers.
“Not only does this amendment make necessary and wholesale improvements to our current cybersecurity policy and management framework, but it will also ensure that agencies have a strong leader within the Executive Office of the President to assist them in their efforts,” Watson said in a statement.