Fedwire Briefs

Bill tightens information securitySen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) introduced on Nov. 19 the Government Information Security Act, a bill based on recommendations from the General Accounting Office on how to better secure federal information systems.

GAO found that federal information security shortcomings are the result of multiple factors, including inadequate security program planning, poor security management and the lack of defined roles among federal organizations.

The bill would strengthen the security duties of the Office of Management and Budget; establish management requirements based on GAO's best-practices guide; require agencies to perform annual independent evaluations of their security programs and practices; bring national security systems into the same single point of control as civilian systems; and emphasize the importance of security training and incident response.

***Y2K to cost U.S. $100BGovernment agencies and businesses in the United States will wind up spending about $100 billion to identify and fix systems to make them Year 2000-compliant, according to a report by the Commerce Department.

The report, "The Economics of Y2K and the Impact on the United States," said that from 1995 to 2001, agencies and companies will have spent about $100 billion on the computer problem. That's the equivalent of about $365 per American.

The report also concluded that the Year 2000 problem will not have a significant or long-term impact on U.S. economic growth. But date-change disruptions that occur in some small and medium-size businesses could cause economic loss in local areas, the report found. The report is available online at cher.eda.doc.gov/agencies/esa/index.html.

***Navy mulls notebooks for sailorsNavy officials are exploring ways to equip every sailor with a notebook computer as part of the traditional uniform allowance.

As the military moves toward a network-centric method of planning maneuvers and going to war, the Navy believes it must put information access in the hands of every sailor, said Ron Turner, the Navy's deputy chief information officer for infrastructure, systems and technology. Turner, who spoke at the Navy's Connecting Technology Fall '99 symposium in San Diego last week, is working to add funding for the computers into the service's 2002 budget request, he said.

A similar program in the Marine Corps would outfit each unit leader with a Data Automated Communications Terminal—a mobile, sub-notebook computer.


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