Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano this week addressed the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) to testify about the ongoing efforts of the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security and NSTAC to safeguard the nation's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure.

"Over the past year, we have worked together to strengthen the security and resilience of our nation's communications infrastructure, which is essential to national security and emergency preparedness," she said.

Napolitano recognized NSTAC, which addresses policy and technical issues regarding communications, information systems, information assurance, critical infrastructure protection, and other national security communications concerns. Specifically, she applauded the NSTAC Report to the President on Communications Resilience published on April 19, 2011. The 104-page report examines the nation‘s resiliency of communications services, ranging from simple voice communications to integrated voice, data and video applications.

Specifically, the report provides recommendations and options for investments or actions the government could take to enhance the survivability or availability of communications for emergency response personnel, owners and operators of critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR), and state and local authorities during a time of natural disaster, a man-made cyber or a physical attack, or other crisis.

Regarding cybersecurity, Napolitano testified that the agency recently signed a landmark Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Defense to coordinate and protect military and civilian networks from cyber threats, as well as to leverage shared resources to respond to attacks.

In addition, the agency is working on a public-awareness campaign to promote “Stop. Think. Connect.” The online program was designed to promote simple steps the public can take to increase their safety and security online and “empower individuals and enterprises across cyber networks to enhance their own security,” Napolitano said.