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House passes legislation creating new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

On December 11, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would create a new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) under the direction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The new legislation, titled the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2017 (H.R.3359), was introduced by the House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), on July 24.

The new legislation calls for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) at DHS, which is responsible for securing federal networks and protecting our nations critical infrastructure from cyber and physical threats, to be reorganized into a standalone agency that would continue to handle cyber and critical infrastructure protection.

Important to note for county governments, prior to the transition of the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration, former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson designated election infrastructure as a critical infrastructure sector on January 6, 2017, giving the Federal government authority to prioritize cybersecurity assistance to state and local election officials who request it.

The Senate has not acted on the House passed legislation up to this point, however it will likely be considered by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs in the coming weeks.

NACo will continue to monitor this legislation, and meet with lawmakers on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs to ensure that the needs of county governments are considered.