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Floor Statement on Cybersecurity Legislation

Feb 3, 2010
Floor Statement
Ruppersberger Urges Members to Support H.R. 4061
Madam Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 4061. 
 
Cyber networks power almost everything we do, from our computers and cell phones and I-pods, to the electrical grid that allows us to turn our lights on. They also operate the classified military and intelligence networks that keep us safe and provide critical data to our troops in combat.
 
As a member of the Intelligence Committee and Chairman of the Technical & Tactical subcommittee, which oversees all of the technical aspects of cybersecurity, I know that protecting our cyber networks is a top economic and national security priority.
 
We are under attack each and everyday. These attacks cost $1 trillion last year, and also put classified information in the hands of our enemies. 
 
Cybersecurity is a tough challenge because the government does not own the Internet. In fact, 85 percent of cyber is held privately. We have to get the public and private sectors on the same page, and this bill does just that.
 
This bill directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology – THE measurement laboratory for our nation, based in Maryland – to develop international cybersecurity technical standards. It also charges NIST with creating education campaigns for the public, a critical component to meeting this challenge.
 
This bill also helps to ensure that we have the workforce in place to meet the new demands by providing scholarships to students who agree to work as cybersecurity specialists after graduation. The bill also funds faculty and curriculum development at U.S. colleges and universities to help with the shortage of qualified cyber professors.
 
I also support the amendment proposed by my Maryland colleague, Congressman Kratovil, to establish a National Center of Excellence for Cybersecurity to consolidate our resources into one cyber clearinghouse.
 
Protecting our nation’s networks is not a Democratic or Republican initiative. It is USA first! Let’s pass H.R. 4061 and make sure our own cyber networks don’t become a new weapon in our enemies’ arsenals.