The FirstNet national communications network for first responders still faces challenges to ensure the network’s reliability, security, and interoperability. Mark Goldstein, director of physical infrastructure issues at the Government Accountability Office, said that FirstNet struggles with providing network coverage to rural and hard-to-reach areas, ensuring the network’s overall resiliency and cybersecurity, managing frameworks for verifying user identity, and prioritizing the users on the network.






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The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed to MeriTalk that Barry West will serve as the acting deputy CIO, as well as be appointed to a limited-term senior executive service position as senior adviser.






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China and the United States will continue to cooperate on cybersecurity issues as outlined in the 2015 consensus by the nations’ two presidents. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke co-chaired the first U.S.-China Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Dialogue on Oct. 4, with Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun.






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The Department of Homeland Security plans next month to stand up a governmentwide dashboard that will give the agency visibility into all of the Federal networks. The dashboard is part of the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program, which was supported in the White House’s IT Modernization report.






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President Donald Trump declared October 2017 National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The announcement follows the Equifax breach in September, which affected about 143 million U.S. consumers. Trump signed a Cybersecurity Executive Order in May in an effort to strengthen Federal cybersecurity and hold agency heads accountable for security issues.






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The Department of Health and Human Services is distilling cyber threat intelligence for a health care audience, according to HHS CISO Chris Wlaschin, who spoke at an Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology Briefing on Sept. 26. He said the Healthcare Cybersecurity Communications and Integration Center is not meant “to replace current capabilities or functionality or services provided by” the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Communications and Integration Center.






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A report with information from all of the agencies’ risk management reports will be sent to President Donald Trump to review by Oct. 8, even though the government still lacks a Federal CIO. Barry West, senior adviser and senior accountable official for risk management at the Department of Homeland Security, said that the goals of the Cyber Executive Order in May could still be met without a Federal CIO.






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Though officials working on the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program have been aware of the importance of cloud from the beginning, Phase 3 of the program will shift to include cloud concerns, according to Kevin Cox, CDM program manager at the Department of Homeland Security.






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