In addition to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the forthcoming fiscal year 2022 budget request will boost the cybersecurity capabilities of additional Department of Homeland Security components including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Secret Service, a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Coast Guard, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Wednesday.
The Biden administration in early April released topline numbers for the FY ’22 federal budget request but included few details, which will be release Friday. One of the details was a recommendation that Congress provide $2.1 billion for CISA, $110 million more than appropriated in FY ’21.
“Our discretionary request includes $2.1 billion for our Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which, which leads DHS in interagency efforts to defend against today’s threats and build a more secure and resilient future,” Mayorkas told the House Appropriations Homeland Security subcommittee in the morning. “We will also further strengthen the cyber capabilities of the Transportation Security Administration, United States Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Coast Guard.” He said about the same in the afternoon when he testified before the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security panel.
CISA is the primary DHS agency for working across the federal civilian government to strengthen cybersecurity and respond to breaches. The agency also works to help private sector companies better secure their networks.
Still, other elements of DHS have cybersecurity responsibilities. TSA has responsibilities for regulating portions of the nation’s transportation infrastructure when it comes to security and shortly is expected to issue guidance to the pipeline sector to notify the federal government of cyber breaches and also set forth rules for protecting their networks, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
“The Biden Administration is taking further action to better secure our nation’s critical infrastructure,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to the media on Tuesday. “TSA, in close collaboration with CISA, is coordinating with companies in the pipeline to ensure they are taking all necessary steps to increase their resilience to cyber threats and secure their systems. We will release additional details in the days ahead.”
The pending security directives around pipelines follow a ransomware attack earlier this month on Colonial Pipeline, an operator that temporarily suspended operations that led to fuel shortages in parts of the East Coast, essentially showcasing the potentially crippling effects cyber-attacks can have on the nation’s critical infrastructure.
The Secret Service has Cyber Fraud Task Forces and the agency investigates various financial crimes, many of which are committed through cyberspace. The ICE Homeland Security Investigations Cyber Crimes Center investigates cyber-related criminal activity and provides support services across the division. The Coast Guard works with the maritime transportation sector to strengthen cybersecurity and also provides cyber mission forces to the Defense Department.
In his written testimony for both panels, Mayorkas highlighted a series of 60-day cybersecurity sprints that he recently initiated to focus his department’s activities on priority areas. Two sprints, one targeted around ransomware and the other on building a more robust and diverse cyber workforce, are already underway.
“We are currently in the midst of advancing these sprints before we will turn to better protecting industrial control systems, cybersecurity in the context of our transportation systems, and our election infrastructure,” he stated.