Government Cyber Strategy Directs Billions for R and D

Monday, December 19, 2011

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The White House recently announced the release of the Trustworthy Cyberspace: Strategic Plan for the Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Program, a strategy designed to foster improvements in cybersecurity research and development efforts and coordinate billions of dollars in funding.

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.

"When we look at the plan itself, it represents our visions for the research necessary to develop game changing technologies that can help neutralize today's cyber attacks and build an infrastructure to secure our systems from what may come in the future," White House cyber coordinator Howard Schmidt said in an interview with Federal News Radio.

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.

"The intent here, particularly in the view we have budget issues we are looking at as a nation and in the government, how can we use this as a force multiplier? How can we make sure we are not having two or three people doing the same research because we are not doing a coordinated strategy like this," Schmidt continued.

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.

Schmidt indicated that priorities include the reduction of duplicate efforts by disparate agencies as well as an examination of low cost mitigation actions that could yeild widespread impact in the improvement of security.

"We will take a look and make sure we don't have any redundancies out there ... What is the low hanging fruit? What are the things we can do a small investment in but make a big impact in cybersecurity across the country overall?" Schmidt said.

The strategy will also look at how best to allocate limited funding to produce a streamlined process for moving research from the theoretical to actual implementation in a reasonable time frame.

"Whether it's the financial services sector or whether it's the smart electric grid pieces of it, we want to identify not only who can do the research, but how quickly can we transition it from research to something we can implement," Schmidt explained.

On notable push in the strategy is for the improvement of software and application security through more secure coding efforts, an issue that has been at the top of many security professionals' priority list for years.

"The intent is to have software systems that will have resistance to cyber attacks built into their core DNA as well as a self awareness to understand the level of their vulnerabilities and do, what we call, self healing, self-repairing," Schmidt stated.

Source:  http://www.federalnewsradio.com/239/2672482/New-cyber-strategy-coordinates-1B-in-RD-efforts

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