The Department of Homeland Security announced that the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, visited the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to address the president's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC).
The purpose of the visit was to highlight the ongoing efforts of the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the NSTAC to safeguard the nation's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure."Protecting our nation's critical networks and communications infrastructure remains a top priority for the administration," said Secretary Napolitano. "Over the past year, we have worked together to strengthen the security and resilience of our nation's communications infrastructure, which is essential to national security and emergency preparedness."
Secretary Napolitano said the NSTAC has done a commendable job in securing the nation’s communications network. She underscored the NSTAC's unique perspective on contributions to national security and emergency preparedness communications through projects, such as the NSTAC Report to the President on Communications Resilience published on April 19, 2011.NSTAC has addressed a wide range of policy and technical issues regarding communications, information systems, information assurance, critical infrastructure protection, and other National Security/Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) communications concerns.
Secretary Napolitano also acknowledged the initiatives like Border Interoperability Demonstration Project, undertaken by DHS to identify and test new emergency communications capabilities to help establish a nationwide public safety broadband network.
The Border Interoperability Demonstration Project is designed to help state and local partners explore innovative and effective interoperable systems and approaches to improve emergency communications along and across America's borders.
In addition to these, DHS is also working with federal partners to support public-private partnerships, such as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. These efforts, according to DHS officials, will offer the ability to receive and verify emergency alerts, then send them over almost any digital media to designated locations.Secretary Napolitano also discussed the department's role as the federal government lead for securing federal civilian executive branch computer systems, and working with industry as well as state, local, tribal and territorial partners to protect the nation's critical infrastructure and information systems.
DHS has taken several initiatives to strengthen America’s network. It has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Defense to coordinate and protect military and civilian networks from cyber threats, and leverage our shared resources to respond to attacks.
Further, DHS has established a National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, a coordinated watch and warning center, which serves as the nation's principal hub for organizing cyber response efforts and maintaining the national cyber and communications common operational picture. In October last year, DHS also launched the “Stop. Think. Connect.” public cybersecurity awareness campaign, with an aim to increase public understanding of cyber threats and promote simple steps the public can take to increase their safety and security online.
Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.