Billions expected for cybersecurity research

ODNI and White House are looking for innovative approaches to thwarting hackers

As the Obama administration and Congress propose various measures to improve the nation’s cybersecurity, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is planning to spend “multiple billions of dollars” on cybersecurity research.

Dawn Meyerriecks, deputy director of national intelligence for acquisition and technology, said at a recent cybersecurity summit sponsored by Defense Daily that her office, together with the White House Office of Science and Technology, will be sponsoring “innovative” research addressing three areas, the Washington Post reported:

  • Multiple security levels for government and non-government organizations.
  • Security systems that change constantly to create “moving targets” for hackers.
  • Methods to motivate individuals to improve their cybersecurity practices.

“We don’t have any fixed ideas about what the answers are,” Meyerriecks said. “We’re looking for traditional and nontraditional partnering in sourcing. You know, there are some good lessons from industry that we need to bring forward. We are looking for ideas. It is open.”

Meyerriecks said she anticipates the initiative to be put into place in fiscal 2013, although it could begin a year earlier.

The announcement was another sign that cybersecurity is getting serious attention.

Soon after Meyerriecks’ speech, the Government Accountability Office issued a report highlighting the need for additional measures to address cybersecurity.


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The White House has established new standards for the Federal Information Security Management Act and appointed a cybersecurity coordinator.

Multiple House and Senate bills have been introduced to address the issue, including one recently introduced by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Thomas Carper (D-Del.).

And the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency could recommend to the Obama administration that government and contractor employees involved in cybersecurity be formally certified.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted at 1105 Media’s GovSec conference in Washington, DC in March of more than 250 government and industry IT professionals found that the majority of respondents – 70 percent – believe cyberattacks are the top threat to U.S. national security.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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