Defense IT clears hurdle

The House Armed Service's Committee's conference summary on H.R. 4205

In hammering out differences in House and Senate versions of the fiscal

2001 Defense authorization bill, House Armed Services Committee conferees

addressed phasing in the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet and coordinating U.S.

information security policy.

Committee conferees announced Oct. 6 that they authorized $309.9 billion — $4.5 billion above the White House request. Information technology provisions

of the bill (H.R. 4205) include:

* Forcing the Navy to phase in implementation of the Navy/Marine Corps

Intranet, prohibiting naval shipyards, aviation depots and the Marine Corps

from participating until after budget year 2001.

* Providing $2 million in funding for the Army's Land Information Warfare

Activity, an organization tasked with monitoring Army networks and helping

to coordinate responses to cyberattacks. The organization was not funded

under the president's budget request.

* Establishing an Electromagnetic Pulse Commission to assess the threat

a nuclear weapon might pose to U.S. information and electronic systems.

Theoretically, a hostile nation could detonate a nuclear weapon in space

above U.S. territory, and the resulting electromagnetic pulse could wreak

havoc on electronic systems, including automobiles, traffic signals, air

traffic control systems, and military command and control systems.

Conferees' steps to reform and coordinate U.S. information security

policy include:

* Authorizing $15 million for a Defense Department information security

scholarship and grant program intended to recruit and retain computer specialists.

* Authorizing $5 million to establish the Institute for Defense Computer

Security and Information Protection to conduct research and technology on

cyberthreats.

* Requiring the president to report to Congress on each federal agency's

progress on developing internal information security plans.

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