Congress Resurrects Cybersecurity Enhancement Act

Bill that Passed House But Not Senate in '10 Unveiled in Both Chambers
Congress Resurrects Cybersecurity Enhancement Act
The House passage of the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act was one of the few IT security legislative success of the last Congress but proved to be a hollow one; the bill never got out of a Senate committee.

The measure aimed to boost cybersecurity research and the federal cyber workforce is back. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., introduced Tuesday the latest version of the bill.

"It's been more than a year since the House passed this bill by an overwhelming margin," said Lipinski, who introduced the act in the 111th Congress. "Since then, the problem of cybercrime has only increased."

According to the sponsors, the measure would:

  • Give the National Institutes of Standards and Technology the authority to set security standards for federal computer systems and develop cybersecurity standards for agencies to follow.
  • Create a task force to coordinate research and development efforts between the federal government, universities and the private sector.
  • Establish cybersecurity research and development grant programs.
  • Create scholarship programs at National Science Foundation that can be repaid with federal service.
  • Require the president to conduct an assessment of cybersecurity workforce needs across the federal government.

A year ago, the House passed the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (see House Passes Cybersecurity Enhancement Act) by an overwhelmingly 422-to-5 vote. That bill, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, had an initial price tag of $639 million through fiscal year 2014 and $320 million thereafter if it had been enacted.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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