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[] U.S. House of Representatives beschliesst Cyber Security Research and Development Act,

Washington File,  7 February 2002 

U.S. House of Representatives Approves Cyber Security Legislation 

(Measure designed to fund research to protect infrastructure) (460)

By Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr.
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly
approved legislation February 7 that would provide $877.85 million
over five years to fund research among colleges, universities and
research organizations to develop ways to protect the nation's
computer networks from attack by terrorists and hackers.

"A cyber attack could knock out electricity, drinking water and sewage
systems, financial institutions, assembly lines and communications,"
House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, a New York
Republican, said February 7.

The House voted 400-12 for the "Cyber Security Research and
Development Act," which now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

Boehlert said "the attacks of September 11th have turned our attention
to the nation's weaknesses, and again we find that our capacity to
conduct research and to educate will have to be enhanced if we are to
counter our foes over the long run. No less than the Cold War, the war
against terrorism will have to be waged in the laboratory as well as
on the battlefield."

The legislation creates research grants at the National Science
Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to
enhance computer security.

President Bush made securing the nation's critical infrastructure an
administration priority following the September 11th terrorist attacks
on the United States. He signed an executive order October 16, 2001 to
create the Critical Infrastructure Board to recommend policies and
coordinate programs for protecting information systems.

Critical infrastructures include telecommunications, electrical power
systems, gas and oil storage and transportation, banking and finance,
transportation, water supply systems, emergency services (including
medical, police, fire, and rescue), and continuity of government.
Threats to these critical infrastructures fall into two categories:
physical threats to tangible property and threats of electronic,
radio-frequency, or computer-based attacks on the information or
communications components that control critical infrastructures
("cyber threats").

CIA Director George Tenet said in April 1998 that the United States is
"currently building an information infrastructure -- the most complex
systems the world has ever known -- on an insecure foundation. We have
ignored the need to build trust into our systems. Simply hoping that
someday we can add the needed security before it is too late is not a

Tenet said that U.S. national security and economic well being depend
upon a secure infrastructure system. A CIA report made public last
year indicates that the United States, China and Russia are training
soldiers to attack and defend targets through use of the global

(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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