Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sen. Lieberman’s DHS Budget Guidance

Recently Sen. Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Operations Committee sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee outlining what he believes should be included in a DHS spending bill. As you would expect he addressed both chemical security and cyber security issues.

Chemical Facility Security

He expressed his hope that a CFATS authorization bill would be passed this session, but that he wanted to see a one-year extension included in the DHS spending bill. He noted that; “the most important thing is that the existing program continues without any lapse”.

Cyber Security

Lieberman came out firmly supporting the increased spending for cyber security efforts that was included in the President’s budget request. Unfortunately this support included some apparent confusion about the difference between federal networks and industrial control systems. He noted:

“The [President’s] request includes an increase of $78.3 million for efforts to secure federal networks, which includes increased funding for technical support, oversight duties pursuant to the Federal Information Security Management Act, and deployment of EINSTEIN sensors. The need for this funding is underscored by the discovery of both the Stuxnet worm during the summer of 2010 and, just last week, of significant vulnerabilities in a software package common to many major industrial control systems.”
This confusion in the Chairman of one of the main Senate committees that will have to sign off on any significant cyber security legislation bodes ill for the effectiveness of Committee efforts to craft legislation that would adequately address control system security issues.

Surface Transportation Security

Sen. Lieberman does not even address spending for surface transportation security spending in TSA. The closest he gets to addressing this issue is his support for the President’s budget requests for the Port Security and Transit Security Grant programs. This lack of attention to freight rail and truck security issues, is endemic to Congress in general not just Sen. Lieberman. Fortunately, it appears to extend to terrorist planners as well.

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