Madam Secretary, we find ourselves in a unique moment in American history. There are many difficult security challenges before us, but we have strong new leadership at the White House, here in Congress and in you at the helm of the Department of Homeland Security.
As the new Chair of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology in the 111th Congress, I am encouraged that as one of your first acts in office, you issued an action directive on cybersecurity, instructing specific offices to gather information, review existing strategies and programs, and to provide oral and written reports back to me by mid-February. I look forward to reviewing these reports about the authorities and responsibilities of DHS for the protection of the government and private sector domains, the relationships with other government agencies, especially the Departments of Defense, Treasury, and Energy, and NSA, and the programs and timeframes to achieve the Department's responsibilities and objectives. I believe that you are asking the right questions about DHS's role in the cybersecurity mission.
In working with you as we both embark on these all too important new roles, my goals on the Subcommittee are simple: 1) we will work together to identify emerging threats that could harm our national security, and 2) we will work with all appropriate agencies as well as individuals in the private sector to mitigate those vulnerabilities.
The Subcommittee will exercise its oversight jurisdiction over a variety of issues, including cybersecurity, biodefense, pandemic influenza preparedness, nuclear detection, mitigating radiological attacks, agro terrorism, and research and development at the Department of Homeland Security.
Two of my subcommittee's earliest hearings will focus on cybersecurity. I am particularly interested to hear about the administration's plans to reorganize the government to meet the significant threats to our nation's computer systems. We will also continue our oversight into the security of our critical infrastructure from cyberattack. I will focus my efforts primarily on the electric grid and the financial services sector.
Through the next several months of the 111th Congress, we will also be paying close attention to the issues of contraband smuggling, biosurveillance, ASP certification, mitigating electromagnetic pulse attacks, and oversight over the DHS Centers of Excellence. There are important challenges that we must address with each of these programs, and I look forward to tackling these issues with you in the months ahead.
I also look forward to working with your new Under Secretary for Science and Technology when he or she is nominated. The S&T Directorate has certainly improved its standing over the years, but more can be done to bring promising technologies to the marketplace. I hope that the next Under Secretary will focus not only on the transfer of technology to the market, but also on basic research and development, which will produce the next line of homeland security technologies.
I look forward to working with you and others in the executive branch, the private sector, my colleagues, and Ranking Member Lungren as we work to secure our nation.