The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday approved bills aimed at strengthening management within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and improving coordination of biodefense efforts across the executive branch.

The 104-page DHS Accountability Act of 2016 (S. 2976) was approved 14-0 and calls for the creation of an Office of Strategy, Policy and Plans to be led by an under secretary to carry out department-wide policy development, implementation and strategic planning.United States Capitol

The bill also calls for an information technology strategic plan that identifies and eliminates outdated IT systems, identifies high risk projects and cyber security risks. It also requires a detailed accounting of management and administrative expenditures across the department to include potential cost savings and efficiencies.

The bill also calls for a strategy for countering violent extremism in the United States.

The National Biodefense Strategy Act of 2016 (S. 2967), approved by voice vote, calls for the president to establish a Biodefense Coordination Council to include six department heads, the Director of National Intelligence, and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The council will develop a strategy and review, prioritize, and align necessary biodefense activities across the federal government.

The biodefense bill also calls for the president to develop a National Biodefense Strategy to “direct and align the inter-governmental and multi-disciplinary efforts of the federal government toward an effective and continuously improving biodefense enterprise, including threat awareness, prevention and protection, surveillance and detection, and response and recover to major biological incidents.”

Former Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I/D-Conn.) and the nation’s first DHS Secretary, Tom Ridge, who co-chaired a Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, in a statement, praised the biodefense bill for attempting to “harmonize a trove of directives and polices that direct a $6 billion biodefense system.”