Census Chief Assures Lawmakers IT and Cyber Risks are Under Control

The Census Bureau still faces a lengthy list of IT and cybersecurity risks less than a year before the 2020 count, but on Tuesday the agency’s chief told lawmakers that they have the situation under control.

“This is a mammoth operation ... there will be risk throughout the 2020 Census,” Director Steven Dillingham said before the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “We’re managing those risks and we’re making progress, and we’ll continue to make progress.”

His reassurance came as officials from the Government Accountability Office reiterated longstanding concerns that delayed IT rolloutsshortened security tests and opaque cyber patching processes could leave the decennial census vulnerable to system failures and digital attacks. The office has included the 2020 count on its list of high-risk government programs since 2017.

“I don’t think we’re looking at disaster but there’s still a lot of work [that] needs to be done going forward,” Robert Goldenkoff, director of GAO’s strategic issues office, said during the hearing.