Cyber Security Industry Alliance Newsletter • Volume 1, Number 11 • July/August 2005

Congressional Spotlight:
Representative Bart Gordon (TN-6)

About Representative Gordon

Born: Murfreesboro, TN, January 24, 1949

Sworn in: 1984 (began 11th term in January 2005)

Education: Middle Tennessee State University, BS, 1971; University of Tennessee College of Law, J.D. (Law) 1973

Committee Assignments: House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Subcommittee on Health; Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet; House Committee on Science, Ranking Member

Career: Attorney

Notable: Rep. Gordon is the House Democratic At-Large Whip; he has also been very active in the Tennessee Democratic Party: served as Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman, 1981-1983, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee, 1974-1983, Executive Director, Tennessee Democratic Party, 1979-1981; Rep. Gordon is also a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus and the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, among many other caucuses; Rep. Gordon also served in the Army Reserves from 1971-1972 and received an honorable discharge in 1972.

Biography: As the dean of the Tennessee delegation, Bart Gordon is currently serving his 11th term in Congress, representing the Sixth District, which includes 15 Middle Tennessee counties.

On the Science Committee, Congressman Gordon has served as the Ranking member on both the Technology Subcommittee (1995-96) and the Space Subcommittee (1997-2002). In 2003, Mr. Gordon assumed the senior Democratic post on the Full Committee. He is best known for his work on issues related to NASA, including leading the call for an independent investigation of the Columbia disaster, pushing the agency on its financial management and cost estimating practices, and working to ensure that NASA addresses its workforce and infrastructure needs in a credible fashion.

He has also been involved in electronic authentication standards issues and has been very active in efforts to fully fund both the intramural and extramural programs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This Congress, the Committee passed legislation authored by Mr. Gordon to establish methamphetamine health-based clean-up guidelines through the work of NIST and the EPA. The legislation is currently awaiting consideration by the full House.

In addition to his position as Ranking Member on the Science Committee, Congressman Gordon also serves on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. He serves on two subcommittees in Energy and Commerce - Health, and Telecommunications and the Internet.

In 1990, Congressman Gordon initiated a wide-ranging investigation into the federal student aid system. He authored and helped pass a number of far-reaching reforms that saved taxpayers more than $6 billion and made financial aid more accessible to low- and middle-income students. Furthermore, the Congress passed Gordon's proposal to ban awarding Pell Grants to prison inmates, which cost taxpayers between $70 million to $200 million a year and took money away from traditional students.

One of Congressman Gordon’s highest priorities is making sure parents have the tools they need to control the information their children can access through TV, by telephone and on the Internet. Congressman Gordon authored legislation protecting citizens from fraudulent 1-900 and 1-800 telephone numbers.

Gordon was the first member of the Tennessee congressional delegation to oppose a temporary waste dump for the nation’s nuclear waste to be located in Tennessee. He has stood up to three presidents who wanted to place a nuclear waste storage site in Tennessee and continues to fight proposals to put nuclear waste in Tennessee.

Long-Term Research Is Key to Securing Cyberspace

On a weekly basis, news reports call attention to the vulnerability of our computer networks to attacks. Each new report further shakes the public confidence in the cyber-infrastructure. Unfortunately, we have adopted a reactionary stance in addressing cyber security problems. Improvements have been slow and focused on short-term fixes.

A real solution for a secure cyber-infrastructure is not one of patches and fixes – it requires entirely new approaches in designing security into digital information systems, approaches that will only result from long-term research.

The Science Committee recognized early on the importance of strengthening our cyber security and that non-classified research on computer security was woefully underfunded. We found that the anemic funding had resulted in a lack of a critical mass of researchers in the field and that the research focus was on safe, incremental projects.

In the 106th Congress, I introduced H.R. 1572, the Digital Signature Act, which was incorporated into the House-passed Computer Security Enhancement Act (H.R. 2413). These bills would have increased long-term research and supported implementation of digital signature technology, a key component of a secure computing network.

In the 107th Congress, the Committee was instrumental in enactment of the Cyber Security Research and Development Act, which established programs at both the NSF and NIST to create a critical mass of researchers working on cyber security problems of the future and to improve cyber security education at undergraduate institutions.

Unfortunately, the budget requests for these activities substantially lags the authorized levels, and serious problems still exist in federal cyber security research. The President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) recently issued a report, which reached many of the same conclusions that led to the Science Committee legislation of four years ago – current federal research funding is inadequate and poorly coordinated.

Underfunding research and training is short-sighted and will hamper the productive utilization of cyberspace. I will continue working to convince the Administration and my colleagues in Congress of the importance of fully funding cyber security research programs.