MARK A. FORMAN
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT
AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TECHNOLOGY, INFORMATION POLICY, INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS,
AND THE CENSUS
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 8, 2003
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. Thank you for inviting
me to discuss the status of the Federal governments IT security.
Through the requirements of the Government Information Security Reform Act
(GISRA) and now the recently enacted Federal Information Security Management
Act (FISMA), Federal agencies, OMB, the Congress, and the General Accounting
Office (GAO) are able for the first time to clearly understand the Federal
governments IT security strengths and weaknesses. For the purposes
of todays hearing, I will provide the Committee with an update on
both the government-wide progress realized in fiscal year (FY) 2002, and
areas of continuing concern as well as the next steps OMB is undertaking
with agencies to continue IT security performance gains.
I also wanted to inform you of a noteworthy E-government milestone. The
March 17th Nielsen//NetRatings report which found that more than
one-third of all Internet users visited a Federal government site in February.
This finding is a clear indicator of the Federal governments commitment
to maximizing the Internet to communicate with and provide services to Americans.
The challenge that the Committee highlights at todays hearing is
ensuring that the information and services are also appropriately secure.
As you know, GISRA has been instrumental in guiding Federal agencies toward
greater IT security performance. Through GISRA and accompanying OMB guidance
we have established a clear process to ensure effective management of IT
security, sound implementation and evaluation of programs, procedures, and
controls, along with appropriate and timely remediation of IT security weaknesses.
OMB oversees and enforces these requirements through traditional management
and budget processes discussed later in my testimony.
Information Security Reform
GISRA brought together existing IT security requirements in previous legislation,
namely the Computer Security Act of 1987, the Paperwork Reduction Act of
1995, and the Information Technology Reform Act of 1996 (Clinger-Cohen),
improving upon these existing requirements. Additionally, GISRA enacted
in statute existing OMB IT security policies found in OMB Circular A-130
on IT management and OMB budget guidance in Circular A-11. As a result,
GISRA both integrated and reinforced long-standing IT security requirements.
GISRA also introduced new review and reporting requirements and defined
a critical role for agency Inspectors General (IGs) to play in independently
evaluating agency IT security. Agency Chief Information Officers (CIOs)
and program officials are responsible for conducting annual IT security
reviews of their programs and the systems that support their programs. Agency
IGs must perform annual independent evaluations of the agencys IT
security program and a subset of agency systems. The results of these reviews
and evaluations are reported annually to OMB and are the basis of OMBs
annual report to Congress.
In July 2002, OMB provided instructions for Federal agencies reporting
the results of their annual reviews and evaluations. Agencies FY
2001 reports established a baseline of agency IT security status. The FY
2001 and FY 2002 reporting instructions are nearly identical and are closely
aligned with the requirements listed in GISRA. Additionally, as part of
the FY 2002 guidance, OMB, working with the agencies, took steps to provide
the Congress and GAO with additional information from agency POA&Ms.
As a result, the combination of the GISRA reporting requirements, OMBs
reporting instructions, and agency plans of action and milestones (POA&Ms)
have resulted in a substantial improvement of the accuracy and depth of
information provided to Congress relating to IT security. In addition to
IG evaluations, agencies are now providing the Congress with data from agency
POA&Ms and agency performance against uniform measures.
The most significant difference in the FY 2002 reporting guidance compared
to the FY 2001 was the introduction of government-wide IT security performance
measures. Consistent with GAOs findings, measures were incorporated
within the existing instructions, requiring agencies and IGs in some instances
to report the results of their reviews against the measures. Through these
performance measures, the Federal government has a clear picture for the
first time of IT security status and progress. From agency responses, areas
of progress as well as areas of problems are evident. As a result, the FY
2002 reports clearly identify Federal agencys FY 2002 status and
identify both progress made from their FY 2001 benchmark as well as new
and remaining weaknesses.
I am pleased to report to you today that the Federal government has made
substantial improvements in securing its information and information systems.
OMBs annual report to Congress will provide more details but I would
like to provide you with some examples of progress. For example:
- In FY
2001, only 40% of Federal systems had up-to-date system security plans.
In FY 2002, that percentage increased to 61%.
the number of Federal systems certified and accredited increased from
27% in FY 2001 to 47% in FY 2002.
Table 1 below provides additional information on the Federal governments
progress and is a subset of what we expect to include in the annual OMB
1. FY 2002 Government-wide IT Security Performance
Number of Systems
of systems assessed for risk and assigned a level of risk
of systems that have an up-to-date IT security plan
of systems authorized for processing following certification &
of systems with a contingency plan
While these measures reveal in some cases over 50% performance improvement
from the FY 2001 baseline and confirm the value of the review and reporting
process in place, they also identify the magnitude of work yet to be done.
The Federal government is heading in the right direction but the numbers
are still too low.
Agency GISRA reports and IT budget materials provide an update on IT security
spending. Federal agencies plan to spend $4.25B in FY 2003 on IT security,
roughly 7% of the Federal governments overall IT budget, and a 57%
increase from the $2.7B identified in FY 2002. As FY 2002 was the first
budget year in which IT security costs were reported, this increase is largely
attributed to improved reporting as well as a general increase in IT security.
From the FY 2004 IT budget materials, agencies plan to spend $4.7B on IT
security or 8% of the Federal governments overall IT budget of $59B,
representing an 11% increase from FY 2003.
The FY 2002 GISRA reports also identify a number of other positive outcomes:
1) More Departments are exercising greater oversight over their bureaus;
2) At many agencies, program officials, CIOs, and IGs are engaged and working
together; 3) IGs have greatly expanded their work beyond financial systems
and related programs and their efforts have proved invaluable to the process;
and 4) More agencies are using their POA&Ms as authoritative management
tools to ensure that program and system level IT security weaknesses, once
identified, are tracked and corrected.
Common Government-wide IT Security Weaknesses From FY 2001
In the FY 2001 summary report to Congress, OMB identified six common government-wide
weaknesses based on our review of agency and IG reports. A year later, progress
is clearly evident across these six areas and while additional efforts are
still warranted, the Federal government is heading in the right direction.
Increasing agency senior management attention to IT security.
At the end of each fiscal year, agency heads now submit the security program
review to OMB. The conditional approval or disapproval of agency IT security
programs is directly communicated between the OMB Director and each agency
head. In addition, OMB used the Presidents Management Agenda Scorecard
to focus attention on serious IT security weaknesses. Through the scorecard,
OMB and senior agency officials monitor agency progress on a quarterly
basis. As a result, senior executives at most agencies are paying greater
attention to IT security.
of IT security performance measures. The absence of government-wide
IT security performance measures was addressed in the FY 2002 reporting
instructions. These high-level management performance measures assist
agencies in evaluating their IT security status and the performance of
officials charged with implementing specific IT security requirements.
Agencies reported the results of their security evaluations and their
progress implementing their corrective action plans according to these
performance measures. These measures are mandatory and help to ensure
that accountability follows authority.
security education and awareness. Through the Administrations
GoLearn e-government initiative on establishing and delivering
electronic training, IT security courses were available to all Federal
agencies in late 2002. Initial courses are targeted to CIOs and program
managers, with additional courses to be added for IT security managers,
and the general workforce. Additionally, NIST has developed and issued
for review guidance to agencies on building an IT security awareness and
integration of security into capital planning and investment control.
OMB continues to aggressively address this issue through the budget process,
to ensure that adequate security is incorporated directly into and funded
over the life cycle of all systems and programs before funding is approved.
Through this process agencies can demonstrate explicitly how much they
are spending on security and associate that spending with a given level
of performance. OMB also provided agencies guidance in determining IT
security costs of their IT investments. As a result, Federal agencies
will be far better equipped to determine what funding is necessary to
achieve improved IT security performance.
have made improvements in integrating security into new IT investments.
However, significant problems remain in regards to ensuring security of
toward ensuring that contractor services are adequately secure. Through
the Administration's Committee on Executive Branch Information Systems
Security of the Presidents Critical Infrastructure Protection Board,
an issue group was created to review this problem and develop recommendations
for its resolution, to include addressing how security is handled in contracts
themselves. This issue is currently under review by the Federal Acquisition
Regulatory Council to develop, for government-wide use a clause to ensure
security is addressed as appropriate in contracts.
process of detecting, reporting, and sharing information on vulnerabilities.
Early response for the entire Federal community starts with detection
of threats, vulnerabilities and attacks by individual agencies who report
to incident response centers at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),
DOD, or elsewhere. While it is critical that agencies and their components
report all incidents in a timely manner it is also essential that agencies
actively install corrective patches for known vulnerabilities. To further
assist agencies in doing so, the Federal Computer Incident Response Center
(FedCIRC) awarded a contract on patch management. Through this work FedCIRC
will be able to disseminate patches to all agencies more effectively.
To date, 19 of the 24 Chief Financial Officer Act agencies have established
patch authentication and distribution accounts. There are currently 176
active users in these agencies, and that number is increasing steadily
as this new service continues to be implemented.
FedCIRC has implemented a 7X24 emergency notification process to rapidly
alert agency CIOs to emerging cyber threats and critical vulnerabilities.
CIOs are notified of specific actions needed to protect agency systems
and agencies must then report to OMB on the implementation of the required
countermeasures. The emergency notification and reporting process has
been used three times since the beginning of the year first for
the Slammer Worm and then for the Sendmail and IIS vulnerabilities. As
a result of these early alerts, agencies have been able to rapidly close
vulnerabilities that otherwise might have been exploited. As FedCIRC and
related organizations have moved to DHS, additional progress is being
made on sharing information needed for Federal agencies to respond to
vulnerabilities and cyber threats.
Security and E-government Initiatives
OMBs work on Expanding E-Government under the Presidents Management
Agenda identifies IT security as a key issue. Two of the initiatives, E-Training
and E-Authentication, provide significant opportunities for leveraging the
Federal governments resources to improve IT security. The benefits
of the E-Training initiative were identified above. Through the E-Authentication
e-government initiative, the Administration deployed and tested a prototype
e-Authentication capability in September. Applications are in the process
of being migrated to this service, which will allow for the sharing of credentials
across government and allows for secure transactions, electronic signatures,
and access controls across government. The full capability is expected in
in Critical Infrastructure Protection and Federal Incident Response
Experts agree that it is virtually impossible to ensure perfect security
of IT systems. Therefore in addition to constant vigilance on IT security
we require agencies to maintain business continuity plans. OMB directed
all large agencies to undertake a Project Matrix review to ensure appropriate
continuity of operations planning in case of an event that would impact
IT infrastructure. Project Matrix was initially developed by the Critical
Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIAO) of the Department of Commerce. As
you know the CIAO and its functions were transferred to DHS. A Matrix review
identifies the critical assets within an agency, prioritizes them, and then
identifies interrelationships with other agencies or the private sector.
Coordination of the Federal governments cyber security and critical
infrastructure protection efforts continues under the leadership of the
new Homeland Security Councils (HSC) Special Assistant to the President
for Critical Infrastructure Protection, and the Assistant Secretary for
Infrastructure Protection at DHS (who is responsible for cybersecurity coordination
within DHS), in partnership with OMB. OMB works with the HSC and DHS, and
all Federal agencies to ensure that through IT security policy and management
and budget processes, our critical operations and assets are appropriately
identified along with the resources necessary to secure them. We are also
working with DHS to improve the Federal governments response to cyber
attacks, and vulnerabilities. The integration of FedCIRC, the National Infrastructure
Protection Center (NIPC), and the CIAO under one Department, partnering
with the Science and Technology directorate on research and development
needs, presents an opportunity for the Administration to strengthen government-wide
processes for intrusion detection and response through maximizing and leveraging
the important resources of these previously separate offices.
Efforts to Improve IT Security
for IT Security
All Federal systems require security. To identify the appropriate security
controls, agencies must first assess the risks to their information and
systems. Security must be incorporated into the life-cycle of every IT investment.
As part of the IT business case (Form 300) for major systems, agencies report
on that risk as well as their compliance with security requirements, i.e.,
development of security plans and certification and accreditation. Failure
to appropriately incorporate security in new and existing IT investment
automatically requires it be scored as at-risk. As a result,
that system is not approved to proceed for the fiscal year in which the
funds were requested until the security weaknesses are addressed. As of
the submission of this report, there are approximately 700 systems in the
FY 2004 budget, totaling nearly $19 billion, at-risk either solely or in
part due to IT security weaknesses. Additionally, many agencies are not
adequately prioritizing their IT investments and therefore are seeking funding
to develop new systems while significant security weaknesses exist in their
legacy systems. OMB will assist agencies in reprioritizing their resources
through the budget process.
IT Security Milestones
OMB set targeted milestones for improvement for some of the critical IT
security weaknesses and included them in the Presidents FY 2004 budget.
Targets for improvement include:
- More agencies
must establish and maintain an agency-wide process for developing and
implementing program and system level plans. Plans of action and milestones
must serve as an agencys authoritative management tool, to ensure
that program and system level IT security weaknesses, once identified,
are tracked and corrected. By the end of 2003, all agencies shall have
an adequate process in place.
agencies find themselves faced with the same security weaknesses year
after year. They lack system level security plans and certifications.
Through the budget process, OMB will continue to assist agencies in
prioritizing and reallocating funds to address these problems. By the
end of 2003, 80 percent of Federal IT systems shall be certified and
agencies have made improvements in integrating security into new IT
investments, significant problems remain in ensuring security of new
and in particular, legacy systems. By the end of 2003, 80 percent of
the Federal Governments FY 2004 major IT investments shall appropriately
integrate security into the lifecycle of the investment.
Plan of Action and Milestone Process
the more reviews agencies and IGs conduct, the more weaknesses they will
find. As a result agency and IG reports are identifying an increased number
of IT security weaknesses. To ensure that appropriate and timely corrective
actions are taken, OMB guidance directs Federal agencies to develop POA&Ms
for every program and system where an IT security weakness has been found.
POA&Ms must serve as an agencys authoritative management tool,
to ensure that program and system level IT security weaknesses, identified
by the agency, IG, GAO, or OMB, are prioritized, tracked, and corrected.
These plans must be developed, implemented, and managed by the agency
official who owns the program or system (program official or CIO depending
on the system) where the weakness was found. System-level POA&Ms must
also be tied directly to the budget request for the system through the
IT business case. This is an important step that ties the justification
for IT security funds to the budget process.
E-Government under the Presidents Management Agenda
successful remediation of security weaknesses throughout an agency, every
agency must maintain a central process through the CIOs office
to monitor agency compliance. OMBs draft FY 2003 guidance to agencies
for reporting under FISMA will direct agency IGs to verify whether or
not an agency has a process in place that meets criteria laid out in OMB
guidance. OMB has and will continue to reinforce this policy through the
budget process and the Presidents Management Agenda Scorecard.
An IG approved agency-wide POA&M process is one of a number of milestones
necessary for agencies to improve their status on the Expanding E-Government
also incorporate the performance measures I discussed earlier into the
quarterly POA&M reporting, coinciding with the Scorecard assessment.
Agencies will report each quarter on their progress, by bureau, against
clearly had a tremendous impact on the state of Federal IT security. The
framework and processes in law and OMB policy have reinforced the importance
of management, implementation, evaluation, and remediation to achieving
real IT security progress. Due to the significant work of Federal agencies
and IGs, along with the Congress and GAO, we are able to point to real
advancement in closing the Federal governments IT security performance
gaps. With all of that progress, we still have a long way to go to appropriately
secure our information and systems. Many pervasive IT security weaknesses
remain, leaving the Federal government with unacceptable risks. OMB will
continue to work with agencies, Congress, and GAO to ensure that appropriate
risk-based, and cost-effective IT security programs, policies, and procedures
are in place to secure our operations and assets.