Federal Cyber Security R and D Strategy Released

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

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The White House has announced the release of the Trustworthy Cyberspace: Strategic Plan for the Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Program.

The strategy is designed to foster improvements in cybersecurity research and development efforts to bolster the nation's digital communications infrastructure.

"Given the magnitude and pervasiveness of cyberspace threats to our economy and national security, it is imperative that we fundamentally alter the dynamics in cybersecurity through the development of novel solutions and technologies. The Federal government is in a unique position to leverage its fundamental research resources to address the underlying causes of cybersecurity problems," said a White House statement from Aneesh Chopra - U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt -  Cybersecurity Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President.

The initiative was born out of the President's Cyberspace Policy review, an undertaking that had instilled a great deal of hope that the Obama administration would revolutionize cybersecurity efforts at the federal level, though critics have lambasted the slow pace of the process.

"Early in his Administration, the President ordered a top-to-bottom review of the Government’s cyberspace policy. The resulting Cyberspace Policy Review challenged Federal agencies to develop a targeted set of cybersecurity research priorities to 'change the game' so that cyberspace can become safer and more trustworthy—key to facilitating continued growth of the Nation’s digital infrastructure," according to the White House statement.

The strategy is intended to assist in the prioritization of cybersecurity research projects and to underscore the importance of cooperation between the public and private sector in determining how best to allocate limited resources.

"Under the leadership of the National Science and Technology Council’s Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, Federal agencies have been engaged in a number of public discussions with a broad range of stakeholders to solicit input and help guide the research prioritization process," the White House statement explained.

The White House points to a 2009 summit that included researchers and vendors which addressed the need to define several major areas of focus as a model for the new strategy's paradigm.

"During the National Cyber Leap Year Summit of 2009, approximately 150 invited researchers and technological innovators from across the Nation convened to review five prospective game-changing themes for cybersecurity. Several of the key ideas and objectives in the new strategic plan are outgrowths of that event," said the White House statement.

The Trustworthy Cyberspace plan specifically calls for:

  • Inducing Change – using game-changing themes to understand the root causes of existing cybersecurity deficiencies with the goal of disrupting the status quo;
  • Developing Scientific Foundations – minimizing future cybersecurity problems by developing the science of security;
  • Maximizing Research Impact – catalyzing coordination, collaboration, and integration of research activities across Federal agencies for maximum effectiveness; and
  • Accelerating Transition to Practice – expediting improvements in cyberspace from research findings through focused transition programs.

While the strategy is an important step forward in the race to secure critical systems in both government and the private sector, the process is still in its infancy, and the strategy represents little more than a guideline for the coordination of efforts, as opposed to tangible progress in improving cybersecurity.

"Using this strategic plan as a road map, sustained efforts in these areas will result in a more secure and trustworthy cyberspace. We invite researchers and innovators in industry and academia to join us in this effort. Together, we can maximize the benefits of research and accelerate their transition into the marketplace," the White House statement asserts.

More information about the NITRD Program can be found here: http://www.nitrd.gov and http://cybersecurity.nitrd.gov.

Source:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/12/06/federal-cybersecurity-rd-strategic-plan-released

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Security Strategy Government Cyber Security Headlines White House Cyber Space Policy Review Federal Research and Development NITRD Trustworthy Cyberspace Howard Schmidt Aneesh Chopra
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