Homeland Security Is Insecure, House Subcommittee Reports

The department was among seven federal agencies that received Fs on information security from a subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Reform.

The Department of Homeland Security was one of several federal agencies to receive a failing grade on information security in a new report released Tuesday by a House subcommittee.

Thats hardly encouraging news for the department, which is in charge of defending the nations network infrastructure. The grade was for the departments own network, however, and not the critical infrastructure segments it defends. DHS is still in the process of organizing itself and its networks, which may have contributed to the poor showing.

Despite DHS and six other agencies getting Fs on the report card, the overall grade for the federal government moved up a notch from F in 2002 to D this year. The grades are doled out by the House Committee on Government Reforms Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census and are based on data that the agencies gather as required by the Federal Information Security Management Act.


Among the other agencies receiving failing grades are the Justice Department, the State Department and the Energy Department. The Defense Department, the Treasury Department and NASA all received Ds.

Under FISMA, every agency is required to perform a self-evaluation of its security policies and posture and submit the results to the Office of Management and Budget. The OMB will release its own evaluation of the data in March.

The governments network security has been the subject of harsh criticism for several years. Experts hoped that the increased attention being paid to security in the current climate and the creation of DHS would spur improvement government-wide. But with DHS at the bottom of the barrel, that now seems unlikely.