Hurd’s homeland security data legislation receives Senate approval

The Department of Homeland Security Data Framework Act sponsored by U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) received unanimous approval on Dec. 6 by the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Hurd introduced the bill, H.R. 2454, on May 16, 2017 to direct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a data framework to integrate existing datasets and systems across all related agencies, among several other provisions, according to the congressional record summary.

“We live in an increasingly connected world and must be able to get the right information to the right people at the right time in order to keep terrorists on the run and off our shores,” said Rep. Hurd, who serves on the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee and the House Intelligence Committee.

“The DHS Data Framework Act does just that by allowing DHS to quickly and safely share sensitive information among law enforcement agencies without compromising our nation’s secrets,” added the congressman, a former CIA officer.

H.R. 2454, which is cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), also would ensure that the DHS data framework would be accessible to DHS employees with appropriate security clearances, “who are assigned to perform a function that requires access, and who are trained in applicable standards for safeguarding and using such information,” according to the official summary.

Rep. Hurd noted in a statement that if enacted, the data framework developed under H.R. 2454 would incorporate any related agency data on homeland security, terrorist information, weapons of mass destruction and national intelligence into one system. In turn, federal monies would be saved by reducing the red tape associated with searching and vetting information against multiple databases having myriad legal restrictions, according to the statement.

The same-named companion bill, S. 2397, introduced on Feb. 7 by U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), was amended in committee and on Nov. 26 was placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar.

“I applaud Senator Maggie Hassan for introducing this bipartisan bill in the Senate and her colleagues for supporting this initiative to keep Americans safe,” Rep. Hurd said last week.

Once the House concurs with the language in S. 2397, the measure will be sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law, according to Rep. Hurd’s staff.