Federal Cybersecurity R&D Strategic Plan Released

Today, OSTP is releasing Trustworthy Cyberspace: Strategic Plan for the Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Program—a road map to ensuring long-term reliability and trustworthiness of the digital communications network that is increasingly at the heart of American economic growth and global competitiveness. 

Early in his Administration, the President ordered a top-to-bottom review of the Government’s cyberspace policy. The resulting Cyberspace Policy Review challenged Federal agencies to develop a targeted set of cybersecurity research priorities to “change the game” so that cyberspace can become safer and more trustworthy—key to facilitating continued growth of the Nation’s digital infrastructure. The cybersecurity R&D strategic plan being released today is in direct response to the near-term action plan of the Cyberspace Policy Review and seeks to enhance and focus our cybersecurity research and development efforts by setting forth coordinated Federal strategic priorities and research objectives.

Under the leadership of the National Science and Technology Council’s Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, Federal agencies have been engaged in a number of public discussions with a broad range of stakeholders to solicit input and help guide the research prioritization process. For example, during the National Cyber Leap Year Summit of 2009, approximately 150 invited researchers and technological innovators from across the Nation convened to review five prospective game-changing themes for cybersecurity. Several of the key ideas and objectives in the new strategic plan are outgrowths of that event.

As a research and development strategy, this plan defines four strategic thrusts:

  1. Inducing Change – using game-changing themes to understand the root causes of existing cybersecurity deficiencies with the goal of disrupting the status quo;
  2. Developing Scientific Foundations – minimizing future cybersecurity problems by developing the science of security;
  3. Maximizing Research Impact – catalyzing coordination, collaboration, and integration of research activities across Federal agencies for maximum effectiveness; and
  4. Accelerating Transition to Practice – expediting improvements in cyberspace from research findings through focused transition programs.

Given the magnitude and pervasiveness of cyberspace threats to our economy and national security, it is imperative that we fundamentally alter the dynamics in cybersecurity through the development of novel solutions and technologies. The Federal government is in a unique position to leverage its fundamental research resources to address the underlying causes of cybersecurity problems.   Using this strategic plan as a road map, sustained efforts in these areas will result in a more secure and trustworthy cyberspace. We invite researchers and innovators in industry and academia to join us in this effort.  Together, we can maximize the benefits of research and accelerate their transition into the marketplace.

For more information about the NITRD Program and the research themes, please visit http://www.nitrd.gov and http://cybersecurity.nitrd.gov

Aneesh Chopra is U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Howard Schmidt is Cybersecurity Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President

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