Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bills Introduced – 04-11-16

With the Senate sitting and the House in pro forma session yesterday there were 19 bills introduced. Of those one may be of specific interest to readers of this blog:

HR 4897 To establish an information technology modernization fund and board, and for other purposes. Rep. Hoyer, Steny H. [D-MD-5]

This will probably not get mentioned in this blog again since it really does not involve ICS security, but the idea sounds so novel that I had to mention it.

The text of the bill is already available from the GPO. It would establish a large ($3 Billion; yep 9 zeros, I counted twice) revolving fund; the “Information Technology Modernization Fund (in this section referred to as the ‘Fund’) for technology related activities, to improve information technology, and to enhance cybersecurity across the Federal Government” {§2(a)(1)}. Money would be provided to projects evaluated by a new Information Technology Modernization Board made up of existing employees from GAO, NIST, DHS and OMB.

There are no definitions included in the bill and it is fairly broadly written, so it is possible that Federal control systems (building management, access controls, etc) could be included in projects funded by this program, but it is obviously intended to update very sadly outdated information systems. This is an area of such obvious need that it does need Congressional attention and this is probably a more effective way of doing this than requiring it to be addressed in the normal budgeting process.

Unfortunately, that $3 Billion price tag may be too steep (but actually probably very reasonable) to allow this to pass. It might have been more palatable if the authorization had been spread out over a number of years; this is going to take some time after all and the money is going into a revolving fund that will be paid back over time by the using agencies.

The bill currently has 7 co-sponsors, all Democrats. That also argues against the bill receiving any serious consideration. Stranger things have happened though. This should not be a partisan issue.

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