Senate grants $757 million for DHS cybersecurity programs

The Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee recently appropriated $757 million in funding for cybersecurity programs at the Department of Homeland Security in fiscal year 2015.

The funding was announced by U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., who serves as chair of the subcommittee.

Local funding
Landrieu emphasized that a significant amount of this money will go toward growing and improving the I-20 Tech Corridor in Louisiana.

"With innovative and strong universities, the third-largest Internet Service Provider in the country and the Cyber Innovation Center, Louisiana's I-20 Tech Corridor is leading the way to build the high-skilled workforce and warriors we need to protect this country from ever-increasing cyberthreats," said Landrieu. "This funding ensures that the Department of Homeland Security has the resources it needs to combat a growing threat."

Landrieu also recommended that the federal government take further steps to improve the country's cybersecurity capabilities. In particular, she urged the Department of Homeland Security to expand its use of the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program.

Further efforts
In addition to this funding, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs recently approved legislation that, if passed, would take additional steps toward protecting agencies and critical infrastructure from cyberattackers, Government Security News reported.

Introduced by Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-De., and Ranking Member Tom Coburn, R-Ok., the legislation consists of the  National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) Act of 2014 and the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014. The former would codify the titular cybersecurity center, while the latter updates the previous Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002, the news source reported. Considering the evolving nature of cybersecurity issues over the past 12 years, such an update was overdue.

"Cybersecurity is one of our nation's biggest challenges," said Carper, Government Security News reported. "That's why it's imperative that we face this 21st century threat with a 21st century response. While our work in this area is far from finished, these bills are an important step in our effort to modernize our nation's cybersecurity programs and help the public and private sectors work together to tackle cyber threats more effectively in the future."

While these bills and the allocated funds are certainly positive steps forward for the U.S. government's overall cybersecurity capabilities, there is no doubt that greater efforts will be needed in the future.