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Homeland security subcommittee approves the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2013

The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies has approved the National Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2013. The legislation primarily aims to fortify and codify many of the pre-existing national cyber security initiatives while prohibiting new regulatory authority at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It also allows private entities to interact with federal authorities to increase the level of cybersecurity across the board.

The bill provides the National Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan with ongoing updates for use with federal, state, local, and private industry entities. It allows private industry groups to provide their cybersecurity procedures to the SAFETY Act Office. The bill also established a partnership between private industry and the DHS to improve critical infrastructure protection and incident response.

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) will be enhanced to provide more cyber threat information in real time by sharing critical infrastructure sectors.

The legislation was originally introduced in late 2013 by several members of the subcommittee, including Chairman Michael McCaul, Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan as well as Ranking Members Bennie Thompson and Yvette Clarke.

Congressman Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, commented on the bill, “Americans could be greatly harmed by a cyber assault on our nation’s power supply, water or banking systems. H.R. 3696 recognizes this growing threat and strengthens the capabilities of DHS -- a civilian, transparent agency -- to protect critical infrastructure, while prohibiting new regulations.”

Letters of support for the legislation came from a number of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Boeing, AT&T, and Pepco Holdings.