The House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittees on Research and Technology today held a joint hearing on cybersecurity research and development, in which Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) unveiled the reintroduction of H.R. 756, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2013.
The legislation, supported by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, passed the House in 2012 and 2010 with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill:
· Improves coordination in government, providing for a strategic plan to assess the cybersecurity risk and guide the overall direction of federal cyber research and development.
· Updates the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) responsibilities to develop security standards for federal computer systems and processes for agencies to follow.
· Establishes a federal-university-private-sector task force to coordinate research and development, improves training of cyber professionals.
· Continues much-needed cybersecurity research and development programs at the National Science Foundation and NIST.
"Every day we are reminded of the threat cybercrime poses to individuals, families, businesses, government, and our national security, including last week's report showing that the Chinese government is attacking American businesses and workers through economic espionage. We cannot allow this to continue," said Rep. Lipinski, ranking member of the Research Subcommittee. "The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act will help ensure we have the highly skilled people and the cutting-edge research and technologies we need to protect not only our critical infrastructure, federal and military computer networks, but also businesses and the general public. Congress needs to recognize the daily threat we live under and pass this legislation as soon as possible to prevent further losses to individuals, businesses, and the economy as a whole."
"I believe this is the Congress when we will finally address in a meaningful way the serious cybersecurity challenges our nation faces, including research and development," said Rep. McCaul. "The stakes are too high for us not to act. It is not a question of if, but when, a cyber Pear Harbor will occur and that's why I have worked to bolster our nation's cybersecurity research and development through the bipartisan Cybersecurity Enhancement Act."
Several bipartisan members of the panel voiced their welcomed support for the reintroduction of the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, followed by strong praise from industry and university representatives who gave testimony on the challenges and opportunities facing U.S. cybersecurity research and development.
"Cyber attacks threaten our national and economic security. To solve this problem, America needs a solution that involves the cooperation of many public and private sector entities. The Lipinski-McCaul legislation helps foster such an effort, which will make our computer systems more secure," said Chairman Smith.
Dr. Frederick Chang, the President and Chief Operating Officer of 21CT, Inc., an Austin-based company, told the committee: "If I could pick two things that are critical to improving the nation's cybersecurity posture, it would be research and development and workforce development, and so this legislation is right on target to addressing the top tier problems."
"This bill does no harm and it does good work," said Michael Barrett, the Chief Information Security Officer at Pay Pal, Inc.