Washington D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed two important Science Committee bills that coordinate and drive research and development (R&D) across federal agencies to better address cyber threats to America’s high-tech infrastructure. 

The Advancing America’s Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Act of 2013 (H.R. 967) passed by a vote of 406-11, and the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2013 (H.R. 756) passed by a vote of 402-16.

Chairman Smith: “As our reliance on information technology expands, so do our vulnerabilities. Cyber attacks against U.S. government and private sector networks are on the rise.  Protecting America’s cyber systems is critical to our economic and national security. 

“In the digital age, protecting our nation’s computer networking systems is more important than ever. The bills approved today provide the coordinated R&D efforts necessary to improve cyber and data security nationwide. And better network security promotes U.S. competitiveness, enhances national security and creates high-tech jobs.”

H.R. 756, introduced by Committee Member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), primarily addresses important cybersecurity research efforts conducted by NSF and NIST.  The bill provides strategic planning for cybersecurity R&D needs across the federal government and reauthorizes funding for established cybersecurity basic research and education grants at NSF.  The bill also enhances NSF scholarships to increase the size and skills of the cybersecurity workforce and provides for an assessment of the federal government’s current and future cybersecurity workforce needs.

Rep. McCaul: “Every agency in the federal government has been victim of cyber attacks from our adversaries and online criminals.  The first step in addressing this national security challenge is to develop a strategy for bolstering our defensive capabilities, which the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act does.  Taking steps to harden our federal networks, this bill sets procurement standards and security guidelines to address our vulnerabilities and takes an innovative approach to building our domestic cybersecurity workforce.”

H.R. 967, introduced by Energy Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), reauthorizes the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program. The NITRD program is the main federal R&D investment portfolio in unclassified networking, computing, software, cybersecurity, and related information technologies. Fourteen agencies contribute expertise and funding to the program.

Energy Subcommittee Chairman Lummis: “We live in a fast-paced, fluid, technologically focused world. Today’s vote reauthorizes an important program that provides the coordination and focus our country needs to stay competitive in this dynamic environment. Past research under NITRD has yielded innovative technology to forecast weather patterns, track traffic patterns and even map the human genome. Reauthorization of NITRD ensures a program that reflects developments and shifts in networking and information technology ranging from cyber security and cloud computing to big data and the supercomputing research conducted at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center.”