DHS cyber incident response teams closer to becoming permanently codified

The House approved a bill on Monday that would make the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber incident response teams a permanent fixture within the agency.

The DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act would codify the agency’s “cyber hunt and incident response teams,” which provide support to organizations running critical infrastructure. The teams often respond to cyber incidents and help organizations mitigate cybersecurity risks.

“Everyone is a target,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the bill’s sponsor, on the House floor. “Our enemies don’t just attack individuals and their devices. They also put America’s critical infrastructure sectors in their crosshairs, endangering all aspects of civilian life.”

The teams referenced by the bill currently operate in DHS’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC).

The bill also would authorize the secretary of Homeland Security to include cybersecurity specialists from the private sector in those response teams.

“By fostering this new collaboration between government and private sector, we can harness our talent and maximize our efforts to stay one step ahead of our enemies,” McCaul said.

McCaul, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, has also made multiple pushes to reauthorize DHS, with provisions to codify a dedicated cybersecurity office in the agency. One such bill was approved by the Senate Homeland Security Committee earlier this month.