The Obama Administration has unveiled plans to set up a Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) to improve the federal government’s fusion and analysis of cyber threat information.

“Currently, no single government entity is responsible for producing coordinated cyber threat assessments, ensuring that information is shared rapidly among existing cyber centers and other elements within our government, and supporting the work of operators and policymakers with timely intelligence about the latest cyber threats and threat actors,” said Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. “The CTIIC is intended to fill these gaps.”

Monaco, who spoke Feb. 10 at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., said the center is needed to help counter the increasing frequency and destructiveness of attacks against public and private networks. She cited “a growing list of high-profile targets” in recent months, including Home Depot, J.P. Morgan Chase, Sony Pictures, Target, U.S. Central Command and the U.S. Postal Service.

The CTIIC will be overseen by the director of national intelligence and will be comparable to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), which was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to improve the integration and analysis of terrorism intelligence collected by other agencies. Like the NCTC, the new center is expected to draw on intelligence and analysis expertise from other agencies.

“If you are an analyst … who serves in the intelligence community, to get promoted, you have to have done something called ‘joint duty,’” Monaco said. “You have to have served in other agencies and seen what your partners in the intelligence community do, and this can be part of that.”

Monaco’s remarks drew a mixed reaction. Wilson Center President and CEO Jane Harman, a former Democratic congresswoman who served on the House homeland security and intelligence committees, said that modeling the CTIIC after the “terrific” NCTC is “on the right track.”

But Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities, said in a statement that he plans to “delve into the details of this cyber integration center proposal to see if it makes sense and could make a real difference for our security.” In addition, Wilson criticized the White House for not consulting with lawmakers before announcing the CTIIC.

“Everyone agrees cybersecurity is an enormous challenge,” Wilson said. “If we are going to successfully address it, Congress and the Administration must work together.”

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Marc Selinger is a journalist based in the Washington, D.C., area. He can be reached at marc2255@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter at @marcselinger.

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