House Passes Cyber-Security Act

Legislation reauthorizes cyber-security funding at the National Science Foundation and requires the White House to conduct an assessment of cyber-security work force needs across the federal government.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Cyber-Security Enhancement Act Feb. 4 by a 422-5 vote. The bill reauthorizes several National Science Foundation cyber-security programs, providing $396 million in research grants over the next four years and calls for $94 million in cyber-security scholarships.
The legislation (H.R. 4061) also aims to improve the transfer of cyber-security technologies to the marketplace and to promote cyber-security education and awareness for the general public.
"The Internet does not stop at our borders; the consequences of poor cyber-security measures can greatly impact our national security and economy," House Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) said in a statement. "Improving cyber-security will require a collaborative effort both domestically and internationally. H.R. 4061 accomplishes this by coordinating U.S. representation in the development of international cyber-security technical standards and best practices and by creating a strategic vision for federal cyber-security R&D."
This bill would also require the White House to conduct an assessment of cybersecurity workforce needs across the federal government. Under the legislation, the administration's Office of Science and Technology Policy director is required to assemble a university-industry task force to discover new models for implementing collaborative R&D.
In addition, because the vast majority of cybersecurity breaches are the result of current best practices not being followed, the bill requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop and implement a public cybersecurity awareness and education program to encourage the more widespread adoption of best practices, such as using unique passwords for different log-ons and not keeping passwords written next to the computer.
"As our reliance on information technology has increased, so has our vulnerability to cyber attacks, as news reports indicate on a near daily basis," bill sponsor Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) said. "Cyber crime is a major problem for the government, for businesses and indeed for every American. This bill will increase the security of vital and personal information by strengthening research partnerships among the federal government, the private sector, and colleges and universities, and supporting the transfer of promising technologies from researchers to the wider marketplace."
Lipinski added, "We need to get the best ideas of our scientists and engineers out of the lab so they can contribute to our collective security and generate economic growth."
The legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.