Senator Hassan Discusses Strengthening Cybersecurity & Government Efficiency at Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) discussed strengthening government efficiency and cybersecurity during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s annual hearing with the Government Accountability Office on addressing its High-Risk List of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in federal government operations.

To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning, click here.

Cybersecurity is one of the high-risk areas identified by the Government Accountability Office. “Cybersecurity has been on the High-Risk List for 24 years, and over the past two years, the leadership commitment in this area has declined,” said Senator Hassan. “This is disturbing, especially of course in light of the SolarWinds attack, and I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration and all of my Congressional colleagues to ensure that we have the necessary leadership in place to coordinate federal cybersecurity efforts to anticipate and prevent these attacks.”

Senator Hassan and Nick Marinos, Director of Information Technology and Cybersecurity at the Government Accountability Office, discussed the Department of Homeland Security’s Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program that federal agencies use to identify and prevent cyberattacks. Mr. Marinos shared that improvements are necessary in order for federal agencies to fully utilize the program.

Senator Hassan has also led efforts in the Senate to update federal IT systems. During today’s hearing, she stated, “The pandemic has put into sharp relief something many of us already knew, namely, that aging federal IT systems lag behind those of private organizations in terms of their ability to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing technological landscape.”

Senator Hassan continued, “Last summer, I wrote to the ten agencies with the most critical legacy IT systems identified by a 2019 GAO report and I asked them for their plans to move away from legacy IT. Yet, several months later, as the High Risk List notes, three out of those ten agencies have yet to produce plans to reduce reliance on these outdated systems that are costly, open federal systems up to security vulnerabilities, and do not meet the level of customer service that Americans expect in the 21st century.”

Comptroller General Dodaro discussed the importance of updating legacy IT systems to provide nimble, secure online government services, especially amid the pandemic.