Magazine article National Defense

DHS Sharply Reduces Ambitions for Cybersecurity Surge

Magazine article National Defense

DHS Sharply Reduces Ambitions for Cybersecurity Surge

Article excerpt

* When pressure mounted to secure the southern border in 2005, the Bush administration announced that it would double the number of Border Patrol agents posted there.

Similarly, as voices in Congress raised up two years ago to demand that the nation do more to secure government computer networks, the Obama administration announced that the Department of Homeland Security would hire 1,000 computer security experts.

That surge has apparently fizzled.

Philip R. Reitinger, deputy undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS, told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the new goal is to hire 400 by October 2012. Their numbers currently stand at 260.

The need to ramp up the DHS' cybersecurity expertise may become more acute after the White House in May proposed expanding the department's responsibilities to oversee both the dot.gov and dot.com domains. Committee Chairman Sen. Joe Liebermann, I-Conn., said that proposal is in line with legislation his committee has been working on.

"One important area of agreement is the recognition that the Department of Homeland Security must be given the job of protecting the dot. …

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