Last week the Senate approved a budget deal that will avert a government shutdown in December. Happy holidays early! Welcome to the weekly news kickoff. Enjoy these highlights.
Senate Approves Two-Year Budget Deal To Keep Government Running
The Senate passed a two-year budget deal early Friday that would prevent the U.S. government from defaulting on its debts next week and help avert a potential government shutdown in December, Federal Times reports. Senators voted 64-35 to approve the legislation. The House had approved the agreement Wednesday, despite opposition from a majority of Republicans, and President Obama was poised to sign it into law. The legislation would raise the debt limit through March 2017, allowing the government to continue to borrow money to pay its bills. The Treasury Department had warned that the government will default on its debts unless the limit is raised by Tuesday.
CISA Bolsters Cybersecurity Without Sacrificing Privacy, Rep. Hurd Says
The Senate’s passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act has a top House cybersecurity lawmaker pushing for the White House to get the bill as soon as possible, Federal News Radio reports. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, a freshman who is the chairman the Information Technology Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told the Federal Drive with Tom Temin that CISA will help prevent another major private sector cyber breach while protecting sensitive personal information. “It’s going to have liability protections and at the end of the day, I think we’re also going to make sure we’re protecting civil liberties,” Hurd said. “This is about sharing information. This is not about creating an intelligence organization, and we’ve got to remember that. We can protect our digital infrastructure and our civil liberties at the same time.” The bill encourages companies and the government to trade data about cybersecurity threats. Supporters of the bill say it would let the government provide damage control to companies such as Sony and Target in the event of a massive data breach.
Halvorsen Says ‘Cyber Pearl Harbor’ Probable
The idea of a catastrophic IT security event has captured cyber policy wonks’ imaginations through the term “Cyber Pearl Harbor,” FierceGovernmentIT reports. And while some have railed against the term’s use as fear-mongering, the Defense Department‘s IT lead thinks such an event is not only plausible, but probable. “Is there the potential for a Cyber Pearl Harbor? Probably,” said DoD Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen during an Oct. 29 breakfast discussion in Washington, D.C., hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. “I think it depends on what scale of engagement you’re talking about.”
White House Expands Open Government Programs in New Action Plan
The White House has released the third iteration of its Open Government National Action Plan, highlighting 40 new or expanded programs to make the federal government more transparent, FedScoop reports. The plan “includes new and impactful steps the administration is taking to openly and collaboratively deliver government services and to support open government efforts across the country,” according to a blog post Tuesday written by U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and the National Security Council Senior Director for Development & Democracy Mary Beth Goodman. The White House included a number of the programs from prior versions of the plan, including an updated Freedom of Information Act portal, work related to data.gov and actions taken to enhance public participation in government. See the full story to view the action plan.
Army Depot Deploys Emergency Notification System
Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania, a logistics center with more than 5,000 personnel, has just deployed a new emergency notification system Defense Systems reports. The system incorporates audio, visual and text alters to notify personnel about what is happening and what procedures they should follow, the Army said in a release. “This system is designed to alert all personnel of crisis situations, such as a terrorist attack or hazardous material spill,” Brett Morgenweck, installation emergency manager in the Risk Management Division, said of the AtHoc notification system. The system was fielded and funded by the Army under its Emergency Management Modernization Program, or EM2P. “If you have a cell phone, or a computer, or are in or outside anywhere on post, you will be informed as soon as possible,” Morgenweck said.