NSA, DHS Trade Players for Net Defense

Thursday - 10/14/2010, 3:49pm EDT

The military has been clear on cybersecurity issues: It's prepared to defend its own networks but not civilian networks. It's been up to the Department of Homeland Security to protect the civilian internet. But that has changed.

By order of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, both departments are laying the ground work for a new arrangement. DHS and the National Security Agency will station officials at each other's headquarters.

Wired reports, "In other words, the seemingly bright line between dot-com and dot-mil gets fuzzier and fuzzier the longer you look."

The agreement clarifies each department's roles in the event of a cyber attack.

It orders this big bureaucratic exchange of personnel. The Department of Homeland Security is going to send over a new Director for Cybersecurity Coordination to NSA, along with privacy lawyers and civil-rights officials to ensure that neither NSA nor its military twin, the Cyber Command, cross any legal boundaries.

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