[ISN] High-tech security may get $1 billion boost

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Nov 02 2001 - 00:01:46 PST

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    By Robert Lemos
    Special to CNET News.com 
    November 1, 2001, 12:20 p.m. PT 
    A $20 billion stimulus package in the works by Senate Democrats may
    include $1 billion to bankroll an information-technology fund, CNET
    News.com has learned.
    As proposed by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., the U.S. Office of
    Management and Budget would administer the fund and award money to
    projects that aim to further protect the United States' critical
    infrastructures, improve the security of government computer systems,
    or harden the nation's defenses against natural and manmade threats.
    Leslie Phillips, communications director for the Senate Governmental
    Affairs Committee--headed by Lieberman--confirmed the fund is likely
    to be part of the economic stimulus proposal being created by
    Democratic senators.
    "Lieberman wants to see the economic stimulus put to good use, and
    there is no better use than bolstering our homeland defense through an
    IT Fund," she said in an e-mail interview.
    "New information technologies can improve aviation security, defenses
    against biological and chemical attacks, and communication between law
    enforcement agencies, just to name a few examples. These investments
    will better protect Americans and help revive the flagging high-tech
    The IT Fund has been proposed as part of the $20 billion economic
    stimulus package being created by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., chairman
    of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
    Unlike the $89 billion stimulus plan proposed by Senate Republicans on
    Tuesday, which focused on tax cuts, the Democrats' proposal would
    provide funding for federal law enforcement and anti-terrorism
    activities, transportation security, response to bioterrorism threats,
    protection of the critical infrastructure, and border security.
    Along with a tax-cut proposal being readied by Sen. Max Baucus,
    D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the stimulus
    package to be proposed by Senate Democrats could total $55 billion.
    The potential of getting a $1 billion shot in the arm has IT
    executives hopeful.
    "We very much like the idea," said Robert Holleyman, CEO of the
    Business Software Alliance. "Spending $1 billion of federal
    investments in information technology is certainly significant. The
    bigger effect, of course, is that (the fund) will provide for
    increased security at the same time."
    In addition to the IT Fund, a significant portion of the Democratic
    spending package could go toward IT companies, said sources familiar
    with the proposal. For example, approximately $1.7 billion is
    earmarked for agencies that deal with homeland defense, and some of
    that will almost certainly be used for upgrading technology systems.
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