DHS Reaffirms Cyber Focus in Strategic Plan

Department of Homeland Security DHS

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2020 through 2024, and is keeping cybersecurity as an agency goal and reinforcing the agency’s current activities to improve Federal cybersecurity.

The strategic plan does not deviate much from the department’s current primary efforts – defending Federal networks, supporting the cyber defense of critical infrastructure, and combatting cybercrime. However, the strategic plan acknowledges the growing and severe threat that cyberattacks pose.

“Cyberspace has become the most active threat domain in the world and the most dynamic threat to the Homeland,” the strategic plan states. “As innovation, hyper-connectivity, and digital dependencies all outpace cybersecurity defenses, the warning signs are all present for a potential ‘cyber 9/11’ on the horizon.”

The plan notes that DHS will continue to provide capabilities for intrusion detection, access prevention, and cyber risk reports, and will continue to prioritize protection of key systems. DHS also will enforce cyber policies and improve the security of its own network by embracing IT modernization.

On critical infrastructure, the strategy has been updated to adopt the national critical functions approach. It notes that DHS will “collaborate with interagency partners to build a common understanding of strategic cyber threats that can empower private sector network defenders, critical infrastructure owners and operators, and government partners to improve resilience and integrity of national critical functions.”

For assessing evolving risks in cyberspace, DHS’ strategic plan commits to “look to the future and leverage feedback from our partners to plan more strategically to match and surpass the pace and innovation of adversaries.”

On cybercrime, DHS says that “the United States must do more to deter, detect, and identify cyber criminals and bring them to justice.” DHS will work with other countries to create cooperative agreements, and will use its capabilities to assist cybercrime investigations.

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