Tuesday, March 20, 2018

House Passes HR 5074 – Cyber Incident Response Teams

Yesterday the House passed HR 5074, the DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act of 2018, by a voice vote. The bill would authorize the establishment and use of “cyber hunt and incident response teams” in the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). No additional funding is provided in this bill.

As I mentioned yesterday, this bill has been officially referred to as being considered “as amended” and no amendments were offered or approved when the bill was considered by the House Homeland Security Committee. The Congressional Record for yesterday (pg H 1661) makes the same statement. I have reviewed the original bill, the reported version (published overnight) and the version published in the Record and can find no differences between these three versions. Maybe there will be some explanation when the Committee Report (H Rept 115-607) is printed later this week.

It is difficult to predict whether or not this bill will be taken up by the Senate. If it does make it to the Senate floor, I suspect that it will be at the end the day under the Senate’s ‘without objection’ procedures; meaning no debate and no vote.

If this bill does become law, it will have an interesting potential consequence. With the use of the term ‘control systems’ in the new paragraph (f)(1)(D) of 6 USC 148, we see an official opening of the NCCIC to consideration of control system incidents, particularly since the term is used with these incident response teams. The IT-limited definition of ‘information systems’ in §148 has not specifically prohibited NCCIC from consideration of ICS incidents, but it has not provided specific authorization either. I would still prefer to see the definition of ‘information systems’ at §148(a)(5) to an ICS inclusive definition (as in §1501), but the provision in this bill should make it reasonably clear that NCCIC should consider control system incidents as part of its area of interest.

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