Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., introduced legislation earlier this month that would codify into law a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advisory council that makes recommendations on communications network security.

The FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) has been operating since the late-2000s, with precursor councils going back to 1992.  The council generally operates on two-year charters, with charter renewals at the option of the FCC’s chair.

CSRIC is charged with providing the FCC with recommendations on how the agency can “strive for security, reliability, and interoperability of the nation’s communications systems.” In recent years, the council has taken on issues including the security and reliability of communications infrastructure, enhanced 911 systems, and national security and emergency preparedness communications.

Membership of the council is open to industry, state and local government officials, and consumer and community groups.

The Senate bill would codify and authorize CISRIC under Federal law, and require its creation by the FCC. Members would include industry, and at least one representative of the Department of Homeland Security.

A bill with similar aims was approved by the House last year.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.