Washington D.C. – The Science, Space, and Technology Committee today unanimously approved two critical bipartisan bills that coordinate and drive research and development (R&D) across federal agencies to address cyber threats to America’s high-tech infrastructure.  The Committee approved the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2013 (H.R. 756) and the Advancing America’s Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Act of 2013 (H.R. 967) by voice vote. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is an original cosponsor of both bills.   

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. The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act promotes much-needed R&D to help create new technologies and standards that better protect America’s information technology systems. 

“In the ever-increasing digital age, protecting our nation’s computer networking systems is more important than ever. The second bill approved by the Committee today, NITRD, provides 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. Both of these bills better protect our nation’s information technology and improve our ability guard against cyber attacks.” 

Background on Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 756: Chairman Smith’s amendment supports coordination of cybersecurity R&D.  The amendment requires the cybersecurity R&D agencies to track ongoing and completed federal cybersecurity R&D projects and make that information publically available.  For years, the Government Accountability Office has recommended this requirement in order to make federal cyber R&D more transparent and ensure we do not duplicate efforts. The manager’s amendment directs NIST to include cybersecurity educational programs and professional development in its activities.  And it updates the authorization levels provided to NSF cybersecurity research and education grants, which have not been authorized since 2007.  The authorizations show strong congressional support for prioritizing cybersecurity R&D activities that are important to America’s security and competitiveness.

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) introduced H.R. 756 and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) introduced H.R. 967.