(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation held a hearing to discuss the recommendations made in the Administration’s 60-day review of federal cybersecurity, Cyberspace Policy Review, that could be appropriate for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to take action on. In addition, the hearing also discussed the postponed reorganization of NIST’s Information Technology Laboratory (ITL).
“More and more of our personal information is making its way online, and our nation’s entire infrastructure—from traffic systems and air traffic control to manufacturing—depends on internet networked systems,” stated Subcommittee Chairman David Wu (D-OR). “I can think of no topic more important for this Subcommittee to address than cybersecurity.”
In May 2009, the Administration released the Cyberspace Policy Review, which detailed a number of near- and mid-term action plans for improving the federal government’s cybersecurity efforts. The report stressed the importance of increasing organization and coordination within the federal government, extensive public-private partnerships, and international collaboration.
Subcommittee Members believe that NIST may be the appropriate agency to fulfill the following recommendations:
· The need for a single locus for federal government involvement in international cybersecurity technical standards;
· The need for an increased public awareness and education campaign; and
· The need for a larger focus on identity management.
The hearing also discussed NIST’s ITL, which is separated into six divisions: Computer Security, Advanced Network Technologies, Information Access, Mathematical and Computational Science, Software and System, and Statistical Engineering. ITL has a budget request of $72 million for FY 2010.
Previously, Ms. Cita Furlani, Director of ITL, had proposed a reorganization of the ITL, but after extensive discussion, the plan to reorganize the ITL has been postponed. The Subcommittee will continue to exercise its oversight on this issue and looks forward to working with NIST as they try to maximize their efforts in cybersecurity
“Today, OMB reports that federal agencies spend $6 billion on cybersecurity to protect a $72 billion IT infrastructure. In addition, the federal government funds $356 million in cybersecurity research each year,” added Wu. “I don’t believe simply spending more money or creating more programs is the means to improve cybersecurity. We need to use our existing resources more efficiently and with specific achievable goals in mind.”