FBI selects new NIPC director

NIPC

The FBI on Tuesday named Ronald Dick as director of the National Infrastructure Protection Center, the federal government's key organization for investigating cyberattacks and alerting industry to vulnerabilities.

Dick most recently served as chief of the computer investigations and operations section of the NIPC, and has been filling in as acting director since Michael Vatis left the post in January.

Dartmouth College announced Tuesday that Vatis will start this month in his new position as director of the Dartmouth Institute for Security Technology Studies.

The Clinton administration created the NIPC in 1998 to serve as the central coordination point for assessing cyberthreats, issuing warnings to industry, and heading investigation and response when attacks affect the nation's critical infrastructure. Under Presidential Decision Directives 62 and 63, the critical infrastructure is defined as the services on which everyday life is based, including the energy, telecommunications, finance and government sectors.

Although the NIPC is based at the FBI, and most of the investigative actions are led by FBI employees, the organization's analysis and warnings side includes members of many other agencies, including the Defense and Commerce departments.

Many in Congress and the private sector have criticized the NIPC's effectiveness and its relationship with industry and other federal agencies. Last year, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Technology, Terrorism and Government Information Subcommittee, requested that the General Accounting Office audit the NIPC.

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