The House today approved two important bills to coordinate and drive research and development (R&D) across the federal agencies to address cyber threats to America's high-tech infrastructure. H.R. 3834, the Advancing America's Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Act of 2012, introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX), and H.R. 2096, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2012, introduced by Committee Member, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), both overwhelmingly passed the House. The bills were brought up as part of an effort by House Leadership to address evolving cyber threats and to protect America's vulnerable infrastructure and networks.
H.R. 3834 was approved by voice vote and H.R. 2096 passed by a vote of 395-10.
"As our reliance on information technology expands, so do our vulnerabilities. Protecting the nation's cyber infrastructure is a responsibility shared by a number of different Federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
"H.R. 2096 primarily addresses important cybersecurity research and development efforts conducted at or led by these agencies. It reauthorizes existing but expired research and education programs at NSF, while eliminating two unnecessary programs, and enhances scholarships to increase the size and skills of the federal cybersecurity workforce. It strengthens cybersecurity R&D, standards development and coordination, and education and awareness at NIST, and it provides for strategic planning for cybersecurity R&D across the federal government.
"Cybersecurity efforts undertaken in H.R. 3834 include research to detect, prevent, resist, respond to, and recover from actions that compromise or threaten the availability, integrity, or security of computer- and network-based systems. Currently, 15 federal agencies are contributing members of NITRD, with an additional 20 or so participating in the program. Coordination among these agencies increases the overall effectiveness and productivity of our nation's networking and information technology and cybersecurity R&D, leverages our strength, avoids duplication, and improves interoperability of R&D products.
"Most importantly, networking and information technology R&D supports and boosts U.S. competitiveness, enhances national security, and helps strengthen the economy through the creation of high-tech jobs."
"This legislation will help secure our federal networks, protect our military secrets, and guard sensitive information from espionage. It creates an education program for computer hygiene which the NSA says would remedy the majority of vulnerabilities we face. The research and development and workforce improvement components are vital to strengthening our defensive capabilities. I urge the Senate to promptly pass this legislation so we can begin to protect ourselves from attack."