Senate acts on information security

Government Information Security Act

The Senate approved the Government Information Security Act on Oct. 12 as

part of the conference report on the National Defense Authorization Act

for fiscal 2001.

The bill is designed to improve federal agencies' security management

practices. Sens. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.)

introduced it late last year in an attempt to bring together oversight for

federal security at the Office of Management and Budget.

The bill covers many other areas of federal security, including:

* Setting basic management practices for agencies to follow and establishing

accountability at the agency level.

* Requiring an annual independent evaluation of agencies' security,

a practice suggested by many of the leading security experts in government

and industry.

* Authorizing the Federal Cyber Services Scholarship for Service program,

an initiative aimed at increasing federal security expertise by paying the

tuition of students studying security in college in return for a term of

employment in the federal government.

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee passed the Government Information

Security Act in March, but Thompson and Lieberman attached it to the Defense

Authorization Act in late July to ensure that the bill would pass the full

Congress before the end of its session.

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