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Homeland Security inches toward makeover

Homeland Security inches toward makeover
Homeland Security inches toward makeover 

By Anne Broache 
Staff Writer, CNET
October 17, 2005

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is on its way to an
organizational makeover, thanks to a bill that President Bush is
scheduled to sign on Tuesday.

According to a final report that accompanies the Homeland Security
Appropriations Act of 2006, lawmakers from both houses agreed to move
all "infrastructure protection and information security programs,"  
which include cybersecurity, into a "Preparedness Directorate"  
proposed in July as part of Secretary Michael Chertoff's plan to
restructure the department.

The directorate is slated to include a medley of new officials,
including an assistant secretary for cybersecurity and

The bill makes no direct mention of money for the cybersecurity
secretary role. But it's not up to the committee to design the makeup
of Homeland Security offices, a U.S. Senate Appropriations committee
aide said Monday. She said the department could use its allotment to
create the position if it wishes to do so.

The department declined to elaborate on its plans. "We continue to
anticipate that the proposals put forward by the secretary under the
Second Stage Review will be enacted," Kirk Whitworth, a Homeland
Security spokesman, said in an e-mail.

Since the department's creation, its top cybersecurity official has
held a low to midlevel role several layers below the secretary. Some
members of Congress and industry representatives have been clamoring
for a more powerful post, but so far, action has stalled.

The latest spending bill allocates $93.3 million under the broad
heading of cybersecurity, earmarking $30 million for "national
cybersecurity exercises and outreach." An unspecified portion is
supposed to fund the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a group
charged with analyzing cyberthreats and coordinating incident-response
activities in public and private sectors.

The bill also sets aside a separate $16.7 million to fund
cybersecurity research, placing the category third from the bottom of
the list for research and development spending. The biggest chunk for
the upcoming year, $380 million, would go to financing work on
"biological countermeasures."

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