CIOs want to end standoff over security funding

CIOs want to end standoff over security funding

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

OCT. 3—Federal chief information officers say Congress is putting computer security at risk with its seeming refusal to fund security measures until cybersecurity practices within government improve.

"The chicken-and-the-egg game is dangerous and has got to stop," said Defense Department deputy CIO Paul R. Brubaker during a press conference unveiling the Federal CIO Council's strategic plan.

In recent hearings before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Management, Information and Technology, the government received a barely passing grade for its ability to secure systems that contain sensitive data and citizens' private information.

During a hearing on the need for a federal CIO, Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.), who chairs the subcommittee, said many problems in system security are people-related. The problems cited most often by the General Accounting Office and agencies' inspectors general are rarely the result of equipment problems caused by the lack of funds, he said.

CIOs have speculated during this week's Executive Leadership Conference 2000 in Richmond, Va., that the funding standoff will continue until some catastrophic event focuses attention on the need for more security funding.

"Time will show," said Joe Leo, Agriculture Department CIO. "The state of computer security is not cheap, and the [funding is] too small compared to the size of the problem."

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