Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Calling on Congress for Legislation on Cybersecurity

Alejandro Mayorkas, the Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, has recently made a plea to Congressional officials for specific cybersecurity legislation that he says would bolster the DHS’s capability in defending the country’s digital infrastructure against cyber-attacks.

Mayorkas told Congress that the legislation that he has in mind would serve to make the department better equipped in the fight against sophisticated computer hackers and threats of cyber terrorism about which the department has grown increasingly concerned over the last several months. The legislation, Mayorkas said, would also help the DHS compete with the private sector in hiring the most skilled and highly qualified personnel for this kind of cyber work.

According to Mayorkas, the current hiring processes that are utilized by the DHS are extremely convoluted and “labyrinthine.” As such, they are becoming a detriment to the department’s ability to snag the best and brightest in cyber security capability.

The legislation would allow the DHS to offer competitive salaries to those qualified individuals who would otherwise choose to take a job with a private company. However, while the DHS may currently be at a financial disadvantage when it comes to being able to offer attractive salaries to qualified cyber personnel, the department’s advantage is the fact that “our mission is an extraordinary one,” which is sometimes enough to lure in some of the best minds in the cyber security business, but not often enough.

This request is nothing new to Congress as it has been attempting for a number of years to pass legislation in the way of cybersecurity. According to federal law enforcement officials, cyber attacks are quickly becoming the most significant threat to America’s security. While Mayorkas is adamant about the DHS’s need for this legislation, he says that the department’s capability in preventing attacks is becoming more sophisticated as well. DHS just needs to be “more competitive in the human resources arena.”

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