Welcome to MeriTalk News Briefs, where we bring you all the day’s action that didn’t quite make the headlines. No need to shout about ‘em, but we do feel that they merit talk.

CISO Council Debuts CISO Handbook

The office of Federal CIO Suzette Kent and the related CIO and CISO Councils today announced publication of their first-ever Chief Information Security Officer Handbook, which aims to “give CISOs important information they will need to implement Federal cybersecurity at their agencies.” The handbook, its authors said, “is designed to be useful both to an executive with no Federal Government experience and to a seasoned Federal employee familiar with the nuances of the public sector. At its core, the handbook is a collection of resources that illuminate the many facets of the cybersecurity challenge and the related issues and opportunities of Federal management.” The CIO and CISO Councils said they intend to keep the handbook updated as major policies or updated guidance are issued to Federal agencies. Jeff Wagner, acting CISO at the Office of Personnel Management, previewed the handbook at MeriTalk’s Tenable GovEdge 2018 event last month.

Senate Subcommittee Approves Defense Spending Bill

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense today advanced its FY2019 funding bill. The legislation will be discussed by the full Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday of this week. The spending bill includes $675 billion, which represents an increase of $20.4 billion above the FY2018 enacted level. Included in the bill is $356 million in additional funding to expand and accelerate cyber research across the Department of Defense, including $117 million for Army cybersecurity research efforts and $116 million in Missile Defense Agency cybersecurity enhancements. The legislation also includes $447 million in additional funding for microelectronics. Funds will be used to “ensure access to trusted microelectronics and develop manufacturing processes for next generation chips.”

Murkowski Sees Hearings Soon on Government Reorg Plan

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said today at a nominations hearing that she expects the committee to hold a hearing “in the not too distant future” on the White House’s proposal issued last week to reorganize aspects of many Federal agencies including a merger of the Departments of Labor and Education. “I know about as much about it as you do,” she said, adding that “there are lots of questions” about the proposal.

Senate Passes Legislation on Stingrays

Monday evening the Senate passed legislation that would require the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide congressional Armed Services committees with a “full accounting” of how the DoD is protecting agency personnel and facilities from foreign government surveillance via cell site simulators, dubbed Stingrays. “Our men and women in uniform shouldn’t have to wonder if their calls and texts are being scooped up by foreign spies,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who introduced the legislation, in a statement. “My amendment directs the Pentagon to tell Congress what it’s doing to protect our armed forces and their families from foreign government stingrays and other cell-site simulators. It is the absolute least we can do.”

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