[ISN] Clarke: homeland security revamp to help cybersecurity

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Jun 11 2002 - 01:24:56 PDT

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    JUNE 10, 2002
    RESTON, Va. -- White House cybersecurity chief Richard Clarke said
    today that a plan to reshuffle the federal government's cybercrime
    agencies into a new cabinet level homeland security department will
    improve federal coordination with the private sector.
    "It will concentrate our forces, it will concentrate the skilled staff
    that we have," said Clarke, "and will ensure better cooperation and
    better coordination both within the government and the private
    In a proposal outlined by President Bush late last week, the new
    department would include the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection
    Center and the U.S. Commerce Department's Critical Infrastructure
    Assurance Office. Both agencies work extensively with the private
    Clarke, speaking here at the Networked Economy Summit sponsored by
    George Mason University, also warned that dangers posed by worms,
    viruses and system intrusions are as urgent as ever -- and on the
    "Digital Pearl Harbors are happening every day, they are happening to
    companies all across the country," he said. According to Clarke, such
    cyberincidents cost the economy $15 billion last year.
    Clarke and other federal officials have been holding a series of
    meetings around the country to raise awareness and gather information
    for a planned national strategy due out by mid-September. That
    strategy, which is being developed with the help of industries
    representing critical sectors such as finance, energy and
    transportation, is intended to map out a plan for improving security
    But the government awareness campaign has also been "a little dirty,"  
    Clarke told his audience, many of whom work for IT companies in
    Northern Virginia.
    In particular, federal officials have been going to private sector
    companies and telling them to pressure vendors to improve security
    with this message: "Why aren't you using security offerings as a
    discriminator among the people from whom you buy?"
    Clarke said he has also been meeting with insurance companies about
    writing cybersecurity insurance for firms that meet certain criteria.
    A key goal is improving the security of federal agencies, which have
    frequently been found to be lacking by the congressional watchdog
    agency, the U.S. General Accounting Office.
    In that regard, the Bush administration's proposed budget for next
    year includes $5 billion in new funding to improve security at federal
    agencies. Clarke said the private sector won't take the federal
    government seriously as long as the government itself has problems.
    This was good news for the vendors at the conference.
    "There is a tremendous opportunity for private sector involvement in
    homeland security areas," said Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who predicted
    "billions of dollars" of new federal IT spending on homeland-related
    The bulk of this new spending "is not going to new federal employee
    manpower, but is going to contractors, innovators, information
    technology companies," said Davis.
    The proposed homeland office reorganization won the endorsement of one
    vendor, Jack London, chairman and CEO of CACI, a Northern
    Virginia-based IT firm. He said it will allow the government to
    produce "a single data picture of threats against our homeland."
    But one technology effort that "should command early focus" is
    development of interoperable identification control systems that would
    allow federal agencies to work with law enforcement, as well as the
    private sector, to correlate potential terrorist activity and threats.
    Virginia's economy relies heavily on the tech sector, which employs
    about 325,000 people in the state. It is also home to numerous
    military bases and network hubs that handle Internet traffic.
    "Virginia is a target-rich state," said the state's governor, Mark
    Warner. "Literally, half of the Internet traffic in the world flows
    through Northern Virginia," he said. "A disruption to that traffic
    could have worldwide implications."
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