Federal 'Cyberczar' Will Batten Down Security Hatches

The new cybersecurity "czar" will be privy to all federal "cyber-compartmented" or special-access programs, according to the bill. In addition, the position is in charge of reviewing and approving any and all cybersecurity-related budget requests submitted to the Office of Management and Budget.

Earlier this month, Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Olympia Snowe (D-ME) introduced legislation entitled the Cybersecurity Act of 2009. In 51 pages, the bill establishes a multitude of programs, administered by a number of different agencies.

"America's failure to protect cyberspace is one of the most urgent national security problems facing the country," wrote the bill's authors. "Since intellectual property is now often stored in digital form, industrial espionage that exploits weak cybersecurity dilutes our investment in innovation while subsidizing the research and development efforts of foreign competitors. In the new global competition, where economic strength and technological leadership are vital components of national power, failing to secure cyberspace puts us at a disadvantage."

The bill mandates that the Secretary of Commerce develop a plan within 90 days of its enactment to implement a system to provide realtime cybersecurity status and vulnerability information of all federal government information systems and networks managed by the Department of Commerce. That plan is to be implemented within a year after the proposed act becomes law.

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