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Federal CIO, CISO Bill Passes House

by Chris Brook on Wednesday January 16, 2019

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Did you know there’s a Federal CISO? A new bill would amend United States Code to elevate the role and streamline the government’s IT reporting structure passed the House this week.

A bill designed to codify and elevate the roles of Federal CIO and Federal CISO as Presidential appointees is well on its way to becoming law.

The bill, initially the Federal CIO Authorization Act of 2018 – now the Federal CIO Authorization Act of 2019, was first introduced last September; it passed through the House on Tuesday unanimously, with barely any questions asked.

The bill was kickstarted by Will Hurd, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform's Subcommittee on Information Technology, and Robin Kelly, a ranking member of the subcommittee.

According to @HouseDailyPress, a handle that gives updates on actions on the floor of the House of Representatives, the bill - H.R.247 - passed following 40 minutes of suspension debate on Tuesday.

The bill, which aims to make the Federal CIO and CISO roles more prominent in the government, has four goals:

  • Reauthorizing and renaming the Office of E-Government as the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO);
  • Elevating the Federal CIO’s role as a Presidential appointee who directly reports to Office of Management and Budget Director;
  • Codifying the Federal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) as a Presidential appointee reporting the Federal CIO; and,
  • Directing the Federal CIO to submit a proposal to Congress for consolidating and streamlining IT across federal agencies.

Ostensibly the bill would reshuffle the Office of Management and Budget's information technology activities and establish new requirements. Currently the head of the Office of E-Government and Information Technology reports to the Deputy Director of the OMB.

Under Hurd and Kelly's Act, the office would be named the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer; under the act the Federal CIO would then report to Director of OMB.

Other tasks assigned to the Federal CIO include publishing timely, searchable, computer-readable data on agency IT expenditures, projects, and programs, and the submission to Congress of a proposal for consolidating IT across the federal government and increasing the use of shared services.

“Americans need to know that we are doing everything we can to keep their most precious information safe,” Hurd said Tuesday, “This bill helps keep the vast information stored by the federal government secure from hackers by making clear that the Federal CIO is in charge of the security of our data across the government.”

It's actually the legislation's second time through the House, where it passed unanimously in November but didn't get a chance to make it to the Senate before the new session started, earlier this month. Suzette Kent has served as the Federal CIO since February 2018; and Grant Schneider has served as the Federal CISO since last July.

Tags:  Government

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