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May 10, 2000

S. 1993 - Government Information Security Act of 2000
(Thompson (R) TN, Lieberman (D) CT and 7 cosponsors)

The Administration supports Senate passage of S. 1993, the Government Information Security Act, which would provide a comprehensive framework for establishing and ensuring the effectiveness of controls over information and information resources that support Federal operations and assets. The Administration fully supports the bill's goal of strong central management, oversight, and enforcement for government security policies while building on the Clinger-Cohen model to ensure that the agencies are ultimately responsible for the security of their assets. In addition, the Administration agrees that periodic security program evaluations and the periodic independent audits of those evaluations are important tools for agencies to make certain that their security programs achieve and maintain adequate security. S. 1993 goes a long way toward meeting these important goals.

The Administration also agrees with the additional responsibilities assigned to the Office of Personnel Management and the National Science Foundation to ensure that the Federal Government has a sufficient number of trained information security specialists.

The Administration appreciates that the legislation maintains the existing distinction between: (1) policy and oversight for national security systems and information; and (2) policy and oversight for unclassified systems and information, in a manner generally consistent with existing law, policy, and practice. This issue has been debated vigorously for years, with each discussion ultimately concluding that the merger of the two systems, with their distinctly different needs, would work to the detriment of both.

The Administration is pleased that no provision in this Act is intended to inappropriately and unnecessarily infringe upon the statutory authorities and responsibilities of Federal agencies. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress as the bill proceeds through the legislative process.