Hill axes DOE security funds

Hill axes DOE security funds

In the wake of the Los Alamos espionage scandal, DOE Secretary Bill Richardson initiated security reforms.

$35 million was sought for IT protections

By Frank Tiboni

GCN Staff

The fiscal 2000 budget could force the Energy Department to scale back cybersecurity plans that chief information officer John Gilligan announced last month.

Congress late last month passed a fiscal 2000 appropriations bill for the department that eliminates the $35 million Energy requested to implement the reforms, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said. The bill has been sent to the White House for the president's signature.

'By denying $35 million in funds for cybersecurity upgrades, it will be impossible to provide real-time cyberintrusion detection and protection for all 70 DOE sites,' Richardson said.

Gilligan's plan called for Energy to spend $80 million over the next two years on data security.

The four-point plan detailed sweeping changes for the department's systems policies, personnel, operations and technical skills [GCN, Sept. 27, Page 1].

'We have been working diligently to improve protection of our nation's nuclear secrets and national laboratories and have developed a comprehensive strategy for safeguards and security reforms to implement across the Energy Department complex,' Richardson said.

'This program would replace outmoded systems at all DOE sites with state-of-the-art cybersecurity, intelligence, counterintelligence and security operations,' he said.

Gilligan would not comment on how the funding cut will affect the department's security initiatives, which Richardson demanded in the wake of the espionage scandal that has drawn congressional scrutiny and reviews into the security of classified nuclear data gathered by DOE.

The bill omits funding for the Energy's Scientific Simulation Initiative. Through this program, Energy wanted to use next-generation supercomputers for modeling human and microbial genome, combustion, climate change and materials calculations.

'In all, this conference report barely meets the country's national security needs and undercuts our international leadership in science,' Richardson said.

Richardson initiated several security reforms in the wake of the Los Alamos scandal, including giving computer security oversight to Gilligan [GCN, May 24, Page 1].

A central part of Richardson's reform
package directed Gilligan to improve the security of information that is store in or processed or transmitted by Energy computers.

The secretary also realigned the CIO's office under a new Office of Security and Emergency Operations headed by retired Air Force Gen. Eugene E. Habiger [GCN, June 28, Page 1].

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