By Jonathan Marino
jmarino (at) govexec.com
January 16, 2007
An advisory council approved a report Tuesday calling for greater
collaboration between the government and private sector to create a
cybersecurity network impermeable to what officials called a growing
The National Infrastructure Advisory Council report will be sent to the
White House. It recommended the establishment of goals for critical
cybersecurity by 2015 and that Homeland Security Department collaborate
with owners and operators of infrastructure to create sector-specific
maps to help coordinate in the event of a disaster or attack.
During her presentation of the report, council member Margaret Grayson,
said regulatory oversight may be needed at some point to ensure that
government officials and their partners in the private sector are
performing mandated tasks adequately.
"This may seem aggressive," Grayson said, but she noted that
intelligence reports suggest a heightening sophistication in
The call for improved cybersecurity comes on the heels of a Homeland
Security Advisory Council recommendation that DHS Secretary Michael
Chertoff expand the department's research into how terrorists might use
the Internet to disrupt homeland security.
Chertoff left the meeting before the council voted on a separate report
that will be sent to the White House, this one on pandemic preparedness.
But he said an avian flu outbreak is more than just a possibility. It's
"really a question of when," he said.
The council also approved the pandemic report unanimously. It called for
continuing development of a strategy that will define how vaccines and
anti-viral medications will be distributed to critical parts of the
private sector workforce. The council consists of 30 members appointed
by the president, and includes private sector and state and local
The draft report recommended the identification of what it termed
"priority workforce groups." It predicted that absenteeism from work
would reach up to 40 percent in the case of a pandemic, and multiple
waves of pandemic illnesses should be expected, with each expected to
last two to three months.
Private sector employees with an interest in preparations should be kept
up to speed on plans, the report said. It encouraged agencies and
businesses to engage nontraditional data acquisition and management
resources within the commercial workforce in surveillance, collection
The report also recommended further study of reviews on the potential
impact of containment strategies, including shuttering U.S. borders in
the event of an avian flu outbreak.
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