Data center consolidation among 70 amendments competing for cybersecurity bill inclusion

As the Senate prepares to consider the bipartisan Cybersecurity Act of 2012 a number of amendments are being tacked on, including one addressing federal data center consolidation.

The cybersecurity legislation – the latest version a compromise bill that was announced July 24 – now has more than 70 amendments, according to Senate floor remarks from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who introduced the bill. He urged senators to refrain from adding amendments not pertinent to cybersecurity issues.

One amendment, filed by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), targets enforcement of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, which was launched last year by the Office for Personnel Management. The plan was designed to shutter at least 1,100 of the government’s roughly 3,000 data centers and was pegged at more than $2 billion in savings.

The amendment would put further weight behind the initiative, which some agencies have been slow to implement, according to a July 31 release from Bennet’s office.

“There are commonsense steps we can take right now to cut the deficit, reduce waste and make the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars,” Bennet said in the release. “The Administration has already identified this as a cost saving measure that will help reduce spending on IT needs, energy consumption, and real estate. This amendment will require the federal agencies to get the job done.”

The amendment would mandate that agencies submit to OMB a complete inventory and consolidation plan for their data centers, as well as provide annual updates on progress over the next five years, among other provisions aimed at accountability.

According to Bennet’s office, the amendment would “conserve energy, save taxpayer dollars and reduce government waste.”

The Senate is slated to take up the bill this week, although it’s not clear when exactly that will happen, as Senate Democrats and Republicans are working toward an agreement on the amendments that will make it into the legislation.

In other news related to the pending cybersecurity bill, TechAmerica in a July 30 letter to Senate leaders, announced support for the bill and laid out recommended priorities for the Senate to consider.

Shawn Osborne, TechAmerica’s president and CEO, endorsed parts of the bill addressing FISMA reform; research and development; education, workforce and awareness improvement; and international cooperation.

He outlined refinements to the bill that would expand on the bill’s measures addressing public-private partnership in securing critical infrastructure, information-sharing and network monitoring.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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