Sequestration Will Delay Some DHS Cybersecurity Programs

By Yasmin Tadjdeh
Budget cuts resulting from sequestration will delay some Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity initiatives, a top DHS official said March 13.
“We’re actually going to have to slow down some of our programs as far as development goes. We’re trying to do it in such a way that we don’t have to turn off anything, but clearly it’s going to slow down the development and deployment of [certain programs],” said Richard Spires, DHS’ chief information officer.
When questioned, Spires repeatedly declined to say which specific cybersecurity programs would be affected
To help offset cuts, the department will look at “optimizing” different programs, he said at the Center for National Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank. 
“We’ve got a lot of duplication and perhaps not an optimized [environment]. So that’s one thing we’re really working on. Rather than saying ‘Hey, we’re going to cut your service or we just can’t provide as much as to our customers,’ what we’re trying to do is optimize our IT infrastructure,” he said.
“[We want to] really drive that and drive savings through that so we can plow that back and not affect that mission,” he said.
DHS will try to consolidate data centers and move toward more cloud services, which are beneficial because they work on consumption-based models that help efficiently allocate funds, said Spires.
“[With cloud] we buy what we really need … [and everyone is] trying to really be more efficient at the infrastructure level so we don’t have to cut services,” he said.
Other DHS agencies, however, will face major downsizing.
Janet Napolitano, DHS’ secretary, said that because of sequestration,the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection is reducing the number of officers at checkpoints. Smaller staffs will result in longer lines, she said on March 4.
Additionally, the Secret Service, which operates under the DHS umbrella, is taking a 5 percent cut in its operating budget, whittling it down to $84 million.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Topics: Cyber, Cybersecurity, Homeland Security, DHS Budget, DHS Policy

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