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House bill would reauthorize NSF cybersecurity grants at $140M annually


A bill approved by the House of Representatives April 27 would reauthorize National Science Foundation cybersecurity grant programs for $420 million over three years through fiscal 2015.

The bill (H.R. 2096), passed 395-10 as part of a House "cyber week" dominated by discussion of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which the chamber approved April 26. 

This bill, sponsored by Reps. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) is known as the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act and would specifically reauthorize six NSF programs that lost authorization after fiscal 2007. NSF has continued to fund the grants under its general authority; during fiscal year 2010, it used $148.62 million of appropriations on them. The McCaul-Lipinski bill would cap the grants at $140 million annually.

It would also strike two grants, the cybersecurity faculty development traineeship program and postdoctoral research fellowships. NSF spokeswoman Lisa-Joyce Zgorski said it would be premature to comment on the bill.

In addition, the bill would require the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development program to coordinate federal unclassified cybersecurity research and development priorities, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop automated system security specifications. The Congressional Budget Office estimates implementation would cost $382 million through fiscal 2016.

Also approved by the House during cyber week was a bill ( H.R. 4257) sponsored by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)  and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) that would amend the Federal Information Security Management Act to explicitly include continuous monitoring. The CBO says it would cost $710 million over a 5-year period to implement.

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