Government fails IT security evaluations

Government fails IT security evaluations

Most executive branch agencies have not met information security requirements set in last year's Government Information Security Reform Act, according to a congressional report card released today.

Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations, said he was disappointed to announce that 'the federal government has received a failing grade.'

Sixteen of the 24 agencies evaluated, including the Defense Department, received Fs, as did the executive branch overall. Five agencies received Ds and two earned Cs. The National Science Foundation got a B+.

This was the second annual evaluation of information security, and the first to take advantage of GISRA reports, which had to be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget by Sept. 10. The grades also were based on General Accounting Office and agency inspector general audits. OMB is evaluating the GISRA data and will release its own report with the president's fiscal 2003 budget request.

Mark A. Forman, OMB's associate director for IT and e-government, said his report would differ somewhat from the subcommittee's.

'We do see the Defense Department as operating at a significantly higher level of security than your rating suggests,' he told the panel.

Forman said OMB will enforce security via purse strings. 'We're not going to fund systems that don't meet the requirements,' he said, adding, 'Money is not the issue. Focus is, and details.'

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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