NIST proposes first federally funded cyber research center

Tuesday - 7/16/2013, 3:23pm EDT

By Melissa Dawkins
Special to Federal News Radio

The National Institute of Standards and Technology wants to create the first Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) dedicated solely to addressing cybersecurity issues through public-private collaboration.

The proposed FFRDC would carry out the goals of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), a collaborative founded in 2012 which seeks to identify, integrate and adopt cybersecurity solutions. The proposed FFRDC will let a nonprofit organization support NCCoE, according to an April NIST press release.

While there are 41 FFRDCs on the National Science Foundation's master list, this would be the first such facility dedicated solely to information system cybersecurity.

NIST wants the new FFRDC to facilitate public-private relationships in order to adopt effective cybersecurity approaches to address the security needs of information technology systems.

"By accelerating dissemination and use of these integrated tools and technologies for protecting IT assets, the NCCoE will enhance trust in U.S. IT communications, data, and storage systems, lower risk for companies and individuals in the use of IT systems, and encourage development of innovative, job-creating cybersecurity products and services," according to the NIST notice in today's Federal Register.

The proposed facility would conduct research and development to encourage industry investment in cybersecurity practices.

The FFRDC also would seek to improve the technical expertise of the cybersecurity workforce. The center would look to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, the federal government, universities and industry for help.

"The FFRDC model is the most effective way the center can work with private companies to accelerate industry's adoption of integrated tools and technologies to protect IT assets," NIST Director Patrick Gallagher said in the release. "NIST has a long history of successful collaboration with industry, and this approach leverages our top cybersecurity experts while allowing the center to be as nimble as possible."

Comments on the notice are open until 5 p.m. on July 22.

Melissa Dawkins is an intern for Federal News Radio

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