Clinton seeks $39M for security

The Clinton administration last week proposed a $39 million amendment to the fiscal 2000 budget to fund several agency security initiatives in areas such as training, intrusion detection and public-key infrastructure.

The administration said the funding will help the Commerce Department, the General Services Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Personnel Management and the Treasury Department comply with Presidential Decision Directive 63.

The directive calls for all agencies to protect mission-critical computer systems that support the nation's financial, transportation and electrical infrastructure from physical attacks or ones waged online.

Nearly $16.9 million will fund programs to train, recruit and retain information security professionals, a key initiative in government and the private sector.

While federal agencies have reported a severe shortage of information technology professionals, federal managers say they have an even greater need for IT workers trained in security technology and policy, said Tom Burke, assistant commissioner of information security at the GSA Federal Technology Service's Office of Information Security, speaking last week at an industry conference.

The administration wants the National Science Foundation to receive an additional $1 million to cover the cost of administering the Scholarships for Service program.

Part of the Federal Cyber Services initiative, the program provides grants and financial aid to college students selected for the program in return for working for the government for a set period.

NSF is working with the OPM to design the program, which will select up to 300 students in its first year. Under the amendment, OPM is slated to receive an additional $2.3 million for this effort, and NSF will receive $5.2 million to fund the scholarships.

A senior administration official said the funding targets are consistent with the PDD 63 priorities, which include education and training and moving trained security workers into government employment. High school internships in information security, for example, are designed to increase the awareness of information security and to create a steady supply of trained workers, the official said.

The administration has asked that GSA receive $8.4 million more to develop the Federal Intrusion Detection Network, an intrusion-detection support center designed to help civilian agencies analyze information about the unauthorized use of federal networks.

Among other initiatives under FIDNet, the money will provide funding for a joint program office that will work with the agencies to develop their own intrusion-detection systems.

Treasury, the home for the governmentwide Public Key Infrastructure Steering Committee, would receive $7 million, transferred from Treasury's Working Capital Fund, to support PKI projects for authenticating the identity of people performing transactions on the Internet.

"Our view...is that the ability to strongly authenticate government users over networks is a vital part of critical infrastructure protection," said Richard Guida, chairman of the steering committee. "This whole budget request recognizes very directly the critical role that public key technology plays within critical infrastructure protection."

Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology would receive $2 million to establish a permanent 15-member expert review team to help agencies develop and deploy security plans.

That team is now a temporary part of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office. A permanent team would create a more stable group that could develop better security expertise, the administration official said. Currently, team members rotate through on a six-month basis, requiring each new group to be trained.

MORE INFO

Security Initiatives Funded by Proposed Amendment

* $16.9 million for programs that train, recruit and retain information security professionals

* $8.4 million for GSA to develop the Federal Intrusion Detection Network

* $7 million for Treasury to support public-key infrastructure projects

* $2 million for NIST to establish a permanent 15-member expert review team to help agencies develop and deploy security plans

* $3 million for NIST to establish an operational fund for computer security projects at agencies across government

* $2 million for the Bureau of Export Administration to help establish Information Sharing and Assessment Centers within the private sector

BY Diane Frank
Sept. 27, 1999

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