Horn to grade agencies' security practices

The lawmaker who, with his periodic report cards, shamed federal agencies into taking steps to rid their most critical computer systems of the Year 2000 computer bug plans to shed the same light on the government's computer security practices.

Rep. Stephen Horn, R-Calif., chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee, plans to issue a report card next month grading the security of federal government computer systems.

"The goal is the same as with Y2K, to draw attention to the problems and to put it in as simplified manner as we can to urge agencies to make computer security a high priority," said Bonnie Heald, spokeswoman for Horn's subcommittee, which will release the report card the second week of September and likely will hold a related hearing on the issue.

She said it "became apparent" while Horn was working with federal agencies on the Y2K computer problem that computer security is a widespread problem. Horn gained much attention for helping to prod federal agencies into fixing the Y2K computer bug by issuing regular report cards that showed their progress in dealing with the problem.

On the issue of computer security, Horn sent questionnaires to 54 agencies earlier this month asking for information on six areas of concern. They include service continuity, segregation of duties, systems software, application development and change control, access control, and the extent to which an agency has entity-wide security programs.

Horn's subcommittee also plans to hold a hearing next month on legislation that would create a chief information officer to oversee government computer security and to help set the administration's information technology management policy. Rep. Jim Turner of Texas, the top Democrat on Horn's subcommittee, and Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., a member of the Government Reform Committee, each have sponsored such legislation, H.R. 4670 and H.R. 5024 respectively.

Bruce Heiman, executive director of Americans for Computer Privacy, praised Horn's efforts. "We testified before Congress that one of the most important things government can do is to lead by example and get its own house in order," he said. "If Rep. Horn's actions will help, we support them."

Douglas Sabo, vice president of information security programs at the Information Technology Association of America, said in addition to raising awareness, Congress also needs to provide the resources for federal agencies to take the necessary steps to protect their computer systems. He expressed concern about the amount of proposed funding lawmakers have included in the fiscal 2001 spending bills for such programs.

Sabo said Congress needs to "put its money where its mouth is" on the issue.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.