Tech research boost advances

Cyber Security Research and Development Act

The House Science Committee passed two bills Dec. 6 authorizing an almost $8 billion increase in funding during the next five years for cybersecurity and basic information technology research and development.

Members of the committee introduced the bills on Dec. 4, and both passed with few modifications.

The primary amendment calls for the creation of a center at the National Science Foundation to research ways to enhance the role of technology in managing the influx, analysis and dissemination of information during times of crisis. The amendment was offered by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and passed without opposition.

The Cyber Security Research and Development Act, sponsored by committee chairman Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), ranking member Rep. Ralph Hall (D-Texas) and others, focuses on increasing the coordination among government, industry and academia in the security research arena. It also authorizes more than $300 million during the next five years at NSF for building the security education capacity of colleges and universities across the country and for grants to students pursuing information security degrees.

The committee hopes to bring the bill to the House floor early next year, Boehlert said. Members are already working with the Senate to develop a companion bill, he said.

The Networking and Information Technology Research Advancement Act updates and enhances the High Performance Computing Act of 1991. Co-sponsored by Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.), chairman of the Science Committee's Research Subcommittee, the bill authorizes almost $7 billion during five years for IT research at NSF, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA and other agencies.

The bill also pushes for greater coordination among these agencies through participation in a program run by the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The committee quickly included Matheson's amendment to create a Crisis Management Enabling Technology Center at NSF, with Boehlert citing support from both Democrats and Republicans for a measure that could help agencies make decisions during emergencies and disasters.

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