The Homeland Security Department opened a new operations center today that integrates national cybersecurity and telecommunications monitoring systems and provides a new degree of situational awareness surrounding the nation’s communications, information technology and cyber infrastructure.
The new National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), combines two of DHS’ operational organizations: the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), which leads a public-private partnership focused on defending the nation’s cyber infrastructure; and the National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications (NCC), the operational arm of the National Communications System.
In addition, the NCCIC will integrate the efforts of the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC), which coordinates operations among the six largest federal cyber centers, the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis and private-sector partners.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, speaking at ceremonies for the opening of the new center, said the NCCIC would make it possible to “co-locate, integrate and, over time, make interoperable our cybersecurity [activities] into a unified operations center.”
“Consolidating our cyber and communications operations centers within the NCCIC will enhance our ability to effectively mitigate risks and respond to threats,” she said.
She noted the facility would ramp up to full operation in two phases. The first phase would integrate the monitoring and response operations of U.S. CERT and NCC along with NCSC, where each organization would share information. The second phase would focus on expanding involvement with industry representatives.
Navy Rear Adm. Michael A. Brown, who serves as deputy assistant secretary for Cyber Security and Communications in DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, said the new center “will provide closer coordination with representatives from 18 industry sectors,” many of whom are expected to co-locate in an Arlington, Va., office building where the new command center was built.
The center also will coordinate with representatives of state governors, chief information officers and homeland security agencies around the country and connect virtually, to varying degrees, with regional law enforcement fusion centers.