Sen. Wyden proposes volunteer tech guard

Sen. Wyden proposes volunteer tech guard

A technology force of federal, state, local and private volunteers, similar to the National Guard, would be available in national emergencies under a proposal by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Wyden, who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space, said such a unit would have made a big difference after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by rapidly restoring telecommunications and computer networks. He held a hearing Wednesday to assess support for what would be called the National Emergency Technology Guard, or NET Guard.

'The nation's technology leaders tell me they can contribute most effectively if they have organization and a clear chain of command,' he said. 'The government must create a structure to accept and implement a treasure trove of technological counsel, state-of-the-art equipment and hands-on help.'

Wyden is not introducing legislation for NET Guard, nor does he see it as a large government program. Instead, he wants the administration and the private sector to cooperate on building such a force. He said he also wants to explore federal policy prohibiting some agencies from accepting donations of technology and equipment.

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