Thursday, July 23, 2020

HR 7668 Reported in House – FY 2021 DHS Spending

Earlier this week the House Appropriations Committee introduced HR 7669, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2021, and published their Report on the bill. The bill does contain one specific cybersecurity provision and the report outlines changes to the CISA spending account.


Section 314 of the bill adds a new section 2215 to the Homeland Security Act of 2012. This new section requires DHS (read CISA) to establish a Cybersecurity Advisory Committee. The language is very similar to S 4024 which was added (as §6614) to the language being considered in S 4049, the FY 2021 NDAA.

CISA Spending

As to be expected with any ‘new’ agency, especially a large one, there have been changes made to the way that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) spending accounts are listed in the Committee Report.

On page 145, under the heading of Operations and Support the previous entries under ‘Cybersecurity’ are all being zeroed out. A new subheading of ‘Cyber Operations’ has been added with the following spending categories (the bill’s spending levels are in the parentheses):

• Strategy and Performance ($3,378,000),
• Threat Hunting ($163,368,000),
• Vulnerability Management ($164,064,000),
• Capacity Building ($167,240,000), and
• Operational Planning and Coordination ($68,764,000)

On page 146, under the same heading a second subheading was added “Technology Services” with the following spending categories:

• Cybersecurity Services ($ 9,944,000),
• Continuous Diagnostics ($ 111,133,000), and
• National Cybersecurity Protection System ($ 301,057,000)

For the combined ‘Operations and Support’ heading the total spending in the bill for ‘Cybersecurity’ is now $987,948,000, an increase over last year of $40 million and more than $186 million more than requested by the Trump Administration.

Similarly, changes were made to the ‘Infrastructure Protection’ account. Two subheadings were zeroed out, including ‘Infrastructure Security Compliance. This is the heading that used to include spending for the CFATS program. A new ‘Chemical Security’ subheading was added with initial spending set at $31,128 where none was requested by the Administration.

On page 147 under the ‘Integrated Operations’ sub-heading all of the previously listed categories were replaced by ‘Regional Operations’ and ‘Operations Coordination and Planning’. The ‘Regional Operations’ category includes listed spending for both ‘Security Advisors’ ($81,520,000) and ‘Chemical Inspectors ($46,147,000). I mention the ‘Security Advisors’ spending because the DHS budget had suggested that the chemical security inspectors from the CFATS program would be folded into the Protective Security Advisors program.

The total for ‘Chemical Security’ and ‘Chemical Inspectors’ ($77,275,000) is a slight increase over last year’s ‘Infrastructure Security Compliance’ spending ($75,111,000).

Moving Forward

It continues to look like HR 7669 will be included in the second minibus spending bill that will be based upon HR 7617. There have been some objections from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. They do not think that the bill does enough to rein in ICS and CBP excesses. If the Democrats can not ensure that enough of their House members will vote for the minibus with the DHS spending bill included, they will either have to modify the bill to attract progressives without pushing away moderates in the party, or they will have to remove the DHS language from the minibus.

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