Clinton administration will make final changes in cybersecurity plan

Clinton administration will make final changes in cybersecurity plan

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

The nation's information infrastructure is more secure than it was two years ago when President Clinton issued a mandate to secure critical systems, the White House's Jeffrey H. Hunker said last month at the e-Gov 2000 trade show in Washington.

'Have we solved the problem? No. But we've made progress,' said Hunker, the National Security Council's senior director of critical infrastructure.

On the horizon

He said cybersecurity has an unfinished agenda that will reshape the concept of national security. White House chief of staff John Podesta soon will outline an administration program and legislative proposals to improve information assurance and privacy, Hunker said.

The program will flesh out the goals of Version 1.0 of the National Plan for Information Systems Protection, which the administration issued in January. The goals include making the government a cybersecurity model, building a public-private security partnership, encouraging systems security R&D, and improving law enforcement while protecting privacy and civil liberties.

The 1998 Presidential Decision Directive 63 requires agencies to secure their systems: They must put security programs for critical systems in place by the end of the year and have them fully capable within two years.

The White House's initial steps included setting up the National Infrastructure Protection Center within the FBI for law enforcement and the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office at the Commerce Department for policy issues, Hunker said.

But in civilian agencies particularly, there is no money or organizational structure to support security, he said. The budget process does not allow quick action or cross-agency planning, and there is no governmentwide chief information officer to take responsibility, Hunker said.

Also, cybersecurity cuts across public and private lines of jurisdiction, he said, and that ties national security more tightly than ever before to commercial interests.

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