Bush eyes cybersecurity overlap

The White House announced Wednesday that President Bush will soon receive recommendations on how to coordinate the multiple federal entities involved in the cybersecurity arena.

Shortly after assuming office in January, Bush stated his intention to continue the efforts started in May 1998 by Presidential Decision Directive 63, which requires agencies to secure the systems that support the nation's critical infrastructure, including telecommunications and power.

Many officials inside and outside government — including in the General Accounting Office — have criticized the large number of overlapping agencies involved in critical infrastructure protection. The list currently includes the National Security Council, the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office, the National Infrastructure Protection Center and the Federal Computer Incident Response Center.

The new administration is trying to determine if there is a more efficient way to use the many federal organizations involved in critical infrastructure protection. Recommendations on an "integrated approach" will be made shortly, according to a statement from the White House.

At the same time, the administration is working with agencies and industry to develop the second version of the National Plan for Information Systems Protection, now called the National Plan for Cyberspace Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection.

The plan will be completed later this year, according to the administration. It will provide a more detailed outline of the responsibilities and initiatives for the private sector in regard to critical infrastructure protection. The first version, released by former President Clinton in January 2000, focused almost entirely on the federal efforts and goals.

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