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7/8/2010
01:33 PM
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White House Spells Out DHS's Cybersecurity Role

New memo from Obama's cybersecurity coordinator, Howard Schmidt, and the OMB shows wider responsibility for the Department of Homeland Security

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of and reporting on cybersecurity within federal agencies, including heading up FISMA compliance efforts, according to a memorandum issued this week by the White House and Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The memorandum to heads of executive departments and federal agencies, signed by Howard Schmidt, the president's cybersecurity coordinator, and Peter Orszag, director of the OMB, clarifies the responsibilities and purview of the OMB, Schmidt, and the DHS. OMB is responsible for submitting the annual FISMA report to Congress, as well as for developing and approving the cybersecurity elements of President Obama's budget and agency budgets, according to the memo. Schmidt, meanwhile, is tasked with ensuring FISMA compliance and is the "the principal White House official to coordinate interagency cooperation with DHS cybersecurity efforts," the memo says.

DHS will be subject to OMB's oversight; its duties now include overseeing agencies' implementations of and reporting on cybersecurity policies, heading up and helping agencies set up "risk-based and cost-effective" cybersecurity, oversight of agencies' FISMA compliance and helping OMB create its annual FISMA report, and reviewing agency cybersecurity programs annually.

"All departments and agencies shall coordinate and cooperate with DHS as it carries out its cybersecurity responsibility and activities as noted here," Schmidt and Orszag wrote in the memorandum (PDF).

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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