Today, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology unanimously approved H.R. 2096, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2011, a bill that coordinates research and related activities conducted across federal agencies to better address evolving cyber threats.
"By strengthening agency coordination and cooperation on cybersecurity research and development efforts, this bill will help address the comprehensive cybersecurity needs of the nation," said Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX). "This is a good bill, and it represents an important step in Congress's overall efforts to address cybersecurity issues."
H.R. 2096 is bipartisan legislation, introduced by Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL). Cybersecurity R&D is currently shared by several federal agencies, many under the jurisdiction of the Committee. This bill primarily addresses efforts at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
"Today's hackers are no longer thrill-seeking teenagers," Rep. McCaul said. "They are organized crime syndicates and national militaries that commit espionage. From thousands of miles away, increasingly sophisticated foreign adversaries are electronically infiltrating sensitive U.S. computer networks to obtain military technologies."
H.R. 2096 requires increased coordination and prioritization of Federal cybersecurity R&D activities and the development and advancement of cybersecurity technical standards. It also strengthens cybersecurity education and talent development and industry partnership initiatives.
Rep. McCaul stressed the need for these efforts, saying, "We are not prepared to meet the threats of the 21st century. One reason is because we do not have a workforce readily available. That is why Congressman Lipinksi and I have reintroduced the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2011."
The legislation has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.