GISRA gets stay of execution

The Senate on Wednesday moved to extend the Government Information Security Reform Act for one year. The move came only hours before the House approved a compromise version of the Homeland Security Bill that essentially would make the provisions of the act permanent.

GISRA, a provision of the Defense Authorization Act of 2001, required executive branch agencies to make regular assessments of their information security and to include security planning in budgets for IT projects. It has been used by the Office of Management and Budget to tie IT security to the budget planning process and by Congress as an oversight tool.

But the act expires Nov. 29 unless extended.

Senate Bill 3067 was introduced in October to make GISRA permanent and was amended Nov. 13 to extend the law until Nov. 30, 2003. It was passed by unanimous consent and moved to the House.

In the House, the Homeland Security Bill approved yesterday included language from the Federal Information Security Reform Act of 2002 that permanently reauthorizes and strengthens GISRA. The compromise bill, which has the support of President Bush, is expected to be taken up by the Senate and passed during the lame-duck session.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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