Bipartisan Cybersecurity R&D Bill Headed to President’s Desk

The House of Representatives yesterday approved bipartisan Science Committee legislation to coordinate and drive research and development (R&D) across federal agencies to address cyber threats to America’s high-tech infrastructure. The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 (S. 1353) is the work of a bicameral, bipartisan compromise prioritizing R&D to help create new technologies and standards to protect America’s information technology systems.

Cyber attacks against the U.S. government and private sector networks are on the rise. Scarcely a day passes without a report of a new cyber attack on critical parts of our nation’s cyber infrastructure, government agency, or business. As our reliance on information technology expands, so do our vulnerabilities. New technological advances bring new avenues from which foreign countries can attack our networks. Protecting America’s cyber systems is critical to our economic and national security.

The negotiated legislation contains important provisions from the House-passed bill (H.R. 756), introduced by Science Committee Member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), and passed out of the Committee last year with strong bipartisan support.

The bill primarily addresses cybersecurity research efforts conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It provides strategic planning for cybersecurity R&D needs across the federal government and enhances NSF scholarships to increase the size and skills of the cybersecurity workforce. The bill also strengthens R&D standards development and coordination, and public outreach at NIST related to cybersecurity.

The bill is a compromise measure that includes language from a bill authored by Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and John Thune (R-S.D.). These provisions will encourage competitions and challenges that focus on the security of information technology and support public-private collaboration on cybersecurity.

 

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