Bush seeks security budget boost

The White House last week submitted to Congress an emergency supplemental budget request for fiscal 2002 that includes more than $36 million for various homeland security information technology programs.

The proposed supplement would add money to some existing programs and provide start-up funding for programs outlined in the Bush administration's fiscal 2003 budget request, submitted to Congress in February. This money is on top of the more than $722 million requested for IT homeland security initiatives in the fiscal 2003 budget.

"This is essentially seed money," said Shannon Kellogg, vice president for information security programs at the Information Technology Association of America. The supplement includes a request for $2.5 million for the General Services Administration to establish an Internet Vulnerability Program Management Office. GSA developed the idea for the office with the Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, said Sallie McDonald, assistant commissioner for information assurance and critical infrastructure protection at GSA.

Federal and industry organizations have come together recently in an ad hoc manner to address vulnerabilities such as the Code Red and Nimda worms, and the program management office — working with the new Cybersecurity Information Coordination Center — would provide an official way to cooperate during incidents, McDonald said.

"This will allow us to have a physical place, an area that's fully equipped, where we can put people together," she said.Other IT programs included in the supplement are:

* $5.8 million to the Justice Department for deployment of the Automated Biometrics Identification System/Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System at 30 additional ports of entry.

* $9 million to the Commerce Department to begin the Homeland Security IT and Evaluation Program.

* $19.3 million to the National Science Foundation to provide additional funds for the Cybercorps/Scholarships for Service security education and recruitment program.

The money for the NSF program addresses an important shortfall in funding for security education, but "they need seed money now, and they need substantial levels of funding later," Kellogg said.

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