DHS's cybersecurity office is a presidential signature away from a new name

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The House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would codify the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate into law and give it a more relevant name.

The CISA Act, which passed the Senate in October and now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law, would now brand the office as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

The National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) is currently the point office responsible for securing federal networks and safeguarding critical infrastructure from cyberthreats.

“[Tuesday’s] vote is a significant step to stand up a federal government cybersecurity agency,” said Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen. “The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, and we need to ensure we’re properly positioned to defend America’s infrastructure from threats digital and physical. It was time to reorganize and operationalize NPPD into the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”

Chris Krebs, currently the DHS undersecretary in charge of NPPD, will now become director of CISA.

“The CISA Act passing Congress represents real progress in the national effort to improve our collective efforts in cybersecurity,” Krebs said. “Elevating the cybersecurity mission within the Department of Homeland Security, streamlining our operations, and giving NPPD a name that reflects what it actually does will help better secure the nation’s critical infrastructure and cyber platforms.  The changes will also improve the department’s ability to engage with industry and government stakeholders and recruit top cybersecurity talent.”

The bill, sponsored by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, passed in the House in 2017. The Senate added some minor amendments in October, causing the bill to be returned to the lower chamber.

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Chris Krebs, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Kirstjen Nielsen, NPPD