Cybercenter funding may fall short

FedCIRC

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Although governmentwide security efforts got a vote of approval last week in the House Appropriations Committee's report on fiscal 2002 funding, the panel's decision to provide less money than the Bush administration has asked for may stymie plans to expand the program.

The General Services Administration houses the Federal Computer Incident Response Center (FedCIRC), the central warning and response group for civilian agencies. Pending approval by the full House, the committee plans to give FedCIRC $2 million more next year, bringing its budget up to almost $10 million.

But that is $1 million less than the administration wants, even though "the committee is supportive of the decentralized, distributed philosophy for computer incident detection and response that is inherent in the current federal effort and that appears to allow appropriate agency control and private sector involvement," the report states.

FedCIRC is encouraging agencies to use the managed security services offered through the GSA Safeguard security contract to pick complete intrusion-detection solutions that agencies can use to report incidents to FedCIRC.

The new money would go toward an analysis center that FedCIRC plans to create, said Sallie McDonald, assistant commissioner for information assurance and critical infrastructure protection at GSA's Federal Technology Service.

The center would allow FedCIRC to analyze individual incidents across government that, when combined, may reveal a larger coordinated attack. But if FedCIRC does not get the full amount it requested for the center in 2002, "that will cripple our ability to put the center in place," McDonald said.

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