Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, disputed the notion that a cyberattack would cripple the Internet. "Nothing is totally invulnerable, but I don't want people to get the idea that the Internet is about to be brought down," he said. The Internet was a vital communication channel for people on Sept. 11 because of disrupted telephone services, he noted.
Panelists at the hearing--who included current NIPC Director Ronald Dick, Joel Willemssen of the General Accounting Office and Mark Seetin, vice president of the New York Mercantile Exchange--agreed with the suggestion of subcommittee Chairman Stephen Horn, R-Calif., that the newly created White House Office of Homeland Security, rather than an overworked White House Office of Management and Budget, should manage cybersecurity issues.
Panelists also pressed for a government-led research and development effort to create a long-term defense against potential attacks. A program to develop better research also could bolster training efforts to satisfy a critical shortage of technology security specialists, experts said.