Napolitano wants to know more

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor

Homeland Security Department secretary Janet Napolitano wants to know more about the department’s authorities to protect federal and private sector computer networks.

She specifically asked for details on DHS’s relationships with the departments of Defense, Energy and Treasury and the National Security Agency.

Napolitano issued her second set of action directives Friday asking employees to address cybersecurity and the strategy to protect the northern border.

Napolitano issued five directives Jan. 22, one day after being confirmed by the Senate. She expects to issue other directives in the near future on protection, preparedness, response, recovery and immigration.

These new directives are similar to the first five in that she wants DHS to provide information, review existing strategies and programs.

For the northern border strategy, Napolitano wants to know the country’s current vulnerabilities, overall strategy to reduce them as well as the requirements, programs, budget and time frame for improving border security.

DHS has long focused on securing the southern border. The northern border has received some attention, such as a pilot program to using technology to track when visitors leave the country and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol hard to get to areas.

The Government Accountability Office reported in November that DHS plans of actions and resources needed are not specific enough. Auditors also found that DHS has implemented 11 of 50 recommendations. Congress also has been pressing DHS for a clearer border security strategy.

Napolitano expects an oral report on cybersecurity by Feb. 3 and a final report by Feb. 17. She wants the oral report on border security by Feb. 10 and a final one by Feb. 17.

On the Web:

DHS – Secretary Napolitano Issues Additional Action Directives on Cyber Security and Northern Border Strategy (press release)

Federal News Radio – DHS secretary wants programmatic evaluations

GAO – Report on norther border security (pdf)

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