Clinton creates National Infrastructure Assurance Council

President Clinton signed an executive order last week creating the National Infrastructure Assurance Council, the final organization to be established in an overall structure to protect the critical infrastructure of the United States against cyberterrorism and other attacks.

The council will be made up of 30 people from federal, state and local governments, as well as the private sector.

As outlined in the May 1998 Presidential Decision Directive 63, its main purpose is to enhance and continue to develop the partnership between the public and private sector on initiatives already in place. This includes the Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) that are being set up around the country to exchange information about vulnerabilities, cyberattacks and intrusions.

The establishment of the NIAC rounds out the group of organizations created to provide critical infrastructure protection. Its sister groups, including the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office and the National Infrastructure Protection Center, have been in place for more than a year, putting in place a government and industry foundation that the NIAC will build on.

Although steps already have been taken in this direction by the NIPC, the CIAO and other groups, the formation of the NIAC will make a difference, officials said.

"I think this is an important step in making real the President's vision of a public/private partnership," said John Tritak, the new director of the CIAO.

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