Homeland Security science directorate may get budget boost

The Homeland Security Department's science and technology branch is looking to expand its mandate to fund long-term security research and emphasize short-term security technologies.

Simon Szykman, the director of cybersecurity research and development at the department, told members of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee on Tuesday that "priorities are being reconsidered" for the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA). He said the agency's $18 million budget for cyber-security research, out of a total $1 billion fiscal 2004 research budget, might be increased.

Szykman said HSARPA's mission is evolving into one similar to that of the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with some 20 percent of its budget tagged for long-term research. "Our long-term vision is to address all research areas, not just on the short-term side," he said.

Asked how HSARPA will avoid duplicating DARPA research, Szykman said, "My customer is the nation's critical infrastructure." He also said that while DARPA research is classified, HSARPA will strive to conduct unclassified, short- and long-term research on cyber security.

Szykman emphasized that Homeland Security's cyber-security research is intended solely to serve the needs of the department's cyber-security division and the national communications system within the information and infrastructure protection directorate. "Our broader challenge is to stay within our mandate" of serving specific homeland security needs and "not deal with every cyber-security problem," he said.

While HSARPA is examining traditional security measures to protect and prevent cyber attacks, it also is reviewing the long-term issues of network security, such as the Internet's underlying routing protocols and secure process-control system.

"Many of the security problems we are facing today are a result of not having security designed up front," Szykman said. The department also is working to develop testing metrics for the return on investment in security technologies, he said.

Szykman said HSARPA is looking to coordinate research efforts with other key federal agencies, including the National Security and Technology Council, a working group on protecting critical information infrastructure, and the Information Security Research Council, which examines long-term research goals and projects.

He noted that SRI International has been awarded a $3 million contract to establish a cyber-security R&D center to support the execution of department programs.

"We have a strong management plan and a long-term vision," he said.

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

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

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


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