Congress plans report cards on cybersecurity

Congress plans report cards on cybersecurity

On the heels of Office of Management and Budget efforts over the past year to boost cybersecurity, lawmakers are set to weigh in on agency progress.

The House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census next month will issue a cybersecurity report card detailing agency progress in meeting the requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act.

Subcommittee staff director Bob Dix, speaking today at the Enterprise Architecture 2003 Conference sponsored by GCN and the Digital Government Institute, said the subcommittee is picking up where former Rep. Steve Horn left off. Horn, a Republican from California, had regularly issued report cards on agencies' year 2000 readiness and security efforts.

'Our goal is to elevate the discussion of IT security to all executive levels in the public and private sectors,' Dix said. 'This is not just an IT issue.'

As agencies collaborate more often, Dix said, IT assurance needs more attention because it's been overlooked for too long.

The subcommittee has been working to focus the legislative and executive branches on the importance of cybersecurity with a variety of hearings over the past year.

'Agencies have said FISMA is causing a reporting burden on them and we hope to gain a better understanding of that from the report card,' Dix said.

Dix also said the subcommittee also plans to explore whether the federal procurement process can be used to improve software security.

'If we use the purchasing power of the federal government to insist that developers provide more secure products, that will benefit all users in both the public and private sectors,' he said.

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