Senator proposes cyber Guard

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is proposing a technological equivalent of the National Guard to respond to terrorism and other disasters with a volunteer organization of IT professionals.

Wyden suggested Oct. 9 that the nation's private IT companies could organize a national volunteer response team to restore and safeguard the nation's communications system and infrastructures in the event of an attack such as the Sept. 11 tragedy.

The terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon that day temporarily crippled much of the communications infrastructure in the immediate areas of "ground zero." Many IT companies offered their services for free for days, even weeks.

Wyden, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee's Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee, said a national volunteer organization of "trained and well-coordinated units of IT professionals" could be available to replace computer equipment and wireless communicators, as well as repair communications and technology systems.

"What this country needs is essentially a technology equivalent of the National Guard—a National Emergency Technology Guard (NET Guard)—that in times of crisis would be in a position to mobilize our nation's information technology community to action quickly, just as the National Guard is ready to move during emergencies," Wyden said.

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