CONGRESSMAN SHERWOOD BOEHLERT (R-NY)
FOR HEARING ON GILMORE COMMISSION
October 17, 2001
want to welcome everyone here today for our second hearing on cyber
security. It may be difficult, or even
seem odd, to concentrate on cybersecurity while the Congress itself seems to be
the victim of a biological attack. Yet,
in some ways, recent events, point up more than ever the need to worry about
the security of our computer networks.
the recent anthrax attacks and the attacks of September 11 have in common is
that they turn our own basic systems of daily connections against us – in those
cases, our postal system and our transportation system. Turning our computer systems against us
would seem to be a logical extension of that mode of operation. And, as we noted last week, we are more and
more reliant on those computer networks.
week’s hearing provided a sober report on the state of our vulnerability to
computer attacks. Our witnesses made
four primary points:
The United States has a woefully inadequate investment
in computer security;
Few top researchers have been drawn into the field of
computer security, which has remained essentially unchanged in its (failed)
approaches since its inception;
The federal government has no agency that is focused
on, and responsible for ensuring that the necessary research and implementation
are undertaken to improve computer security; and
Market forces have given most in private industry
little incentive to invest in computer security even as their reliance on the
We are now starting to work on legislation to address those
we will continue our investigation into computer security. And once again we will focus on the area
where this Committee has special expertise and responsibility – the
longer-range planning that will ensure that the vulnerabilities we have today
do not exist tomorrow.
We will hear from Governor Gilmore, who will outline
the recommendations in the Gilmore Commission’s upcoming report on
cybersecurity. I will be particularly
interested to hear the recommendations relating to research and development,
and standards – the issues on which this Committee has focused. And the standards discussion should help set
up a hearing we will have in two weeks on the problems emergency personnel have
in communicating with each other because of incompatible equipment.
I have no doubt
that Governor Gilmore’s recommendations will be thought- provoking because the
Commission’s previous reports have been prescient. They outlined the terrorist threat and the needed preparations to
combat it, while most of us were still insulated by our complacency. That complacency has now vanished.
I must add,
though, that complacency must not be replaced with panic. As we move ahead, we must protect our basic
American values, our sense of openness, our faith that the normal machinery of
government has the ability to weather this storm as it has so many others.
We should view
with skepticism proposals that would turn over our decision-making to new,
Instead, we should
acknowledge that the federal government has a key, active role to play in
ensuring that the national interest and the public interest take precedent at a
time when narrower interests and ideologies can stand in the way of needed
steps to ensure our safety.
I welcome Governor Gilmore and I look forward to his testimony.