Today the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee marked up two computing bills for floor consideration. HR 756, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2013, and HR 967, the Advancing America’s Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2013, both of which had passed in the House of Representatives in previous Congressional sessions but not taken up by the Senate. CRA has, both now and in the past, endorsed both of these bills.
The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act promotes education, training, awareness, and research in cybersecurity via authorizing of federal research funding, scholarships, and coordination of programs across NITRD agencies. The legislation requires participating agencies, in conjunction with the National Coordinating Office, to develop strategic plans for federal cybersecurity research. It would also prioritize cyberesecurity research at participating agencies such as NSF. A number of amendments were added during the markup to clarify and specify the inclusion of women, veterans, and community colleges in the education and training provisions as well as to require the evaluation of higher education courses and degrees in cybersecurity. There were also amendments to increase the NIST role in research in the security of the IT supply chain and in the science of cybersecurity.
The Advancing America’s Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2013 updates the existing NITRD bill and enacts several of the recommendations from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Specifically, the bill requires the NITRD agencies to create a five-year strategic plan for the program, and to have the program’s progress periodically reviewed by a committee of IT experts from academia and industry. Like, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, this bill emphasizes education and attracting women and minorities to get degrees in computing fields. It would also examine the use of cloud computing for federally funded research. Fewer amendments were offered on the NITRD bill than the Cybersecurity Enhancement bill and they were mostly to reflect changes and programs that are already being done under the bill, such as the cyberphysical systems program.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) noted that CRA and several other groups such as ACM and IEEE-CS also supported the bills. CRA led the community with a joint endorsement letter that was sent to the Committee.