Late changes to a security R&D bill call for NIST cybersecurity office

Late changes to a security R&D bill call for NIST cybersecurity office

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee late last week passed an IT security research bill that would create a cybersecurity office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The bill, S 2182, now awaits a vote by the full Senate.

During markup, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) amended the Cybersecurity R&D Act, boosting proposed five-year funding from $875 million to $977 million, to better focus government and industry efforts to improve network and software security. Changes in the bill also would give more responsibilities to the Commerce Department's NIST and the National Science Foundation to promote cybersecurity research.

The creation of the NIST office, which would be called the Office for Information Security Programs, was one of three provisions added to the bill. The office would oversee the government's efforts to buttress cybersecurity research, including a program to assist colleges and universities in entering partnerships with companies and government laboratories to conduct such research.

NIST also would have to develop benchmark security standards for agencies to implement and draft security guidelines for common software used by agencies.

The bill would require NSF to award grants for cybersecurity research to colleges, universities and companies. The bill also would encourage graduate students to teach cybersecurity in return for paying their college loans.

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