Cybersecurity Bill Passes House

When the House of Representatives vote, and there are only a few voting “no” when a particular bill passes by a wide margin, I always wonder why. Such is the case with legislation that addresses the country’s vulnerability online.

The United States will build up an army and expertise aimed at strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, H.R. 4061, requires the administration to conduct an agency-by-agency assessment of cybersecurity skills and establishes undergraduate and graduate scholarships for students who agree to work as cybersecurity specialists for the government after graduation.

This is a puzzling conundrum for lawmakers, who worry about how to defend the nation, especially when some enemies are nearly impossible to pinpoint. Lawmakers said education and recruitment are crucial.

Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY) is sponsor of the bill, and has said that cybersecurity is the Manhattan Project of this generation. He’s probably right, though the cyberthreat is actually greater because any hacker has the potential for unfettered access through the Internet.

Arcuri said as many as 1,000 cyber warriors would need to be hired just to keep up with potential enemies. Cyber warriors may be the new online Marine, who, when informed about their duties would combat computer-related attacks that are becoming more malicious.

The downside to this bill is that nothing like it is working its way through the Senate, though there are several unrelated information security bills under review. It’s also important for President Obama to get on board with cybersecurity, which he has said is a priority of the White House.

Now, about those five House representatives who voted “no,” I ask -- Why?

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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