GOP Reps. Introduce Bill to Pilot Secure Computing Enclaves at Universities

Six Republican House members earlier this month introduced the Securing American Research from Cyber Theft Act (H.R. 3611), which would fund pilot projects to establish secure computing enclaves at universities to protect research from cyberattacks.

The bill, introduced on July 2, would provide $38 million in funding to the Department of Defense to pilot secure computing enclaves at three universities across the country for at least three years. DoD would work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy to implement the program, and report to Congress on the results.

“Currently, universities must implement more than 100 separate controls to comply with federal guidelines for certain research. However, the complexity and cost of these controls means many universities are unable to meet these security requirements,” the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Republicans noted in a press release.

The bill would also direct the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program (NITRD) under the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to offer guidance on improving the security of academic systems that process Federally funded research.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, and cosponsored by five Republicans, all of them members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

“This pilot program gives researchers the tools needed to conduct sensitive research in a secure environment, and it safeguards taxpayers’ investments in emerging technologies,” said Babin.

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