Industry lobbies to secure CIAO funding
- By Diane Frank
- Oct 23, 2000
Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office
Applying pressure where agencies cannot, 11 private-sector organizations
called on Congress this week to fully fund the Critical Infrastructure Assurance
Office for its continuing leadership of government and industry information
"If the CIAO is not funded adequately, it will set back the nation's
critical infrastructure strategic development and the public-private cooperation
that the agency has so ably facilitated," the letter states. "The CIAO has
worked hard to gain the trust of industry for the benefit of the economic
security of the U.S., and the rewards of this service are just beginning
to come to fruition."
The CIAO, housed at the Commerce Department, has worked closely with
industry, which owns 90 percent of the United States' infrastructure, to
develop awareness programs, information-sharing mechanisms and partnerships
with the federal government.
Although agencies are not allowed to lobby for money from Congress past
their initial request, members of the CIAO, including director John Tritak,
have encouraged industry to work with Congress. The letter sent to Senate
Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) this week by 11 organizations is the
first sign that the private sector is taking up the challenge.
Signatories include Cisco Systems Inc., Electronic Data Systems Corp.,
Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The CIAO has been the point organization for helping federal agencies
and commercial entities develop security plans under Presidential Decision
Directive 63, which requires the protection of systems that support the
nation's critical infrastructure. The office also coordinated the development
of the National Plan for Information Systems Protection, released in January
President Clinton's budget request to Congress included $6.7 million
to keep the CIAO running through fiscal 2001, but that and many other governmentwide
security initiatives are in danger of not being included in the final cut
of the appropriations bills over the next few weeks.