NSF & Congress
Hearing Summary: Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space
Hearing On: Homeland Security and the Technology Sector
April 24, 2002
On April 24 the Subcommittee on Science, Technology
and Space of the Senate Commerce,
Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing
on two bills concerning computer security and counter-terrorism.
2037, introduced by Subcommittee
Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), would establish a national
emergency technology guard to mobilize technology
and science experts to respond quickly to the threats
posed by terrorist attacks and other emergencies.
The bill would also establish within the National
Institute of Standards and Technology a technology
reliability advisory board and a center for evaluating
technology to respond to acts of terrorism and other
disasters. A second bill, S.
2182 would authorize National Science Foundation
funding for computer and network security research
and development and establish research fellowships
in cyber security.
Sherry Boehlert (R-NY) testified in support of
S. 2182, which is companion legislation to the Cybersecurity
Research and Development Act (H.R. 3394) which
he introduced in the House. The bill would establish
NSF as the lead agency for improving basic research
in cybersecurity and create at NIST a Computer System
Security and Privacy Advisory Board.
George Strawn, Acting Assistant Director for Computer
and Information Science and Engineering at NSF testified
on S. 2182, outlining ongoing research programs at
NSF that focus on research and education in the area
of information technology security. NSF currently
allocates approximately $25 million for research in
cybersecurity, including a new program in Trusted
Computing. One of the problems noted during the hearing
was the lack of a critical mass of researchers in
the computer security field. New programs, such as
those proposed in S 2182, were viewed by several witnesses
as a possible means of developing a vibrant research
community in this area.
Other witnesses included Professor
Lance J. Hoffman, Computer Science Department
The George Washington University; Ronil Hira, Chair,
R&D Policy Committee, Institute
of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Jeffrey
Logan, Wireless Systems; and W. Wyatt Starnes, President
Inc. These witnesses testified in favor of S.
2037, noting the need for interoperable systems, evaluation
of technology to be employed during emergencies, and
the utility of developing a volunteer technology guard.