Lawmakers are concerned that bureaucratic turf wars are complicating the federal response to cyber threats.
The issue took center stage this week, as senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee fretted that they had been unable to pass key cyber legislation requested by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) because of a disagreement with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“The reality of the situation is there is conflict here,” said Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) at a hearing Wednesday. “This threat is too significant to allow turf wars to get in the way of as efficient an operation as possible in terms of dealing with a very complex and serious problem.”
The dust-up illuminates the broader issue of turf wars over cybersecurity in the federal government.
The executive branch has no one single agency assigned to handle cyber. Instead, authorities are spread out over various agencies, including the Justice Department, which investigates and prosecutes cyber crime, and the Pentagon and broader intelligence community, both of which handle what is considered “offensive” cyber activity.
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