FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 1999

Contact: Sallianne Fortunato
(202) 482-7002

DEPUTY COMMERCE SECRETARY MALLET ANNOUNCES CONSORTIUM OF PRIVATE SECTOR COORDINATORS FOR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION OF THE COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION SECTOR

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Deputy Secretary of Commerce Robert Mallett today announced the creation of a consortium to serve as the private sector coordinators to work with the Commerce Department in developing a plan to protect the nation's critical infrastructure as part of President Clinton's Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP).

The President's program created eight critical infrastructures including communications and information, transportation, energy, banking and financial services, public health services, and water supply.

The Sector Coordinators for the communications and information sector will be a consortium of three key trade associations, including: Harris Miller, President, Information Technology Association of America (ITAA); Matthew J. Flanigan, President, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and Roy Neel, President and CEO, United States Telephone Association (USTA). Other private sector industry groups will participate in the program, and help us achieve the widest effective representation for the protection of communications and information infrastructure.

"The vulnerabilities of the nation to attacks on our critical infrastructures had gone largely unrecognized until the groundbreaking work of the President's Commission," said Deputy Secretary Robert Mallett. "The President has set in motion the governmental machinery to protect these infrastructures that will establish effective partnerships with industry in order to fully meet the national goals of infrastructure protection."

The Sector Coordinators will work with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the Commerce Department in developing plans for protecting the communications and information sector. Critical infrastructures are those physical and cyber-based systems essential to the basic functioning of the economy and government. The government/industry partnership will help raise the level of awareness concerning the threats we face as a nation, as well as the vulnerabilities to be managed.

The President assigned the Department of Commerce as lead agency with responsibility for the communications and information infrastructure. Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley designated NTIA to carry out these responsibilities. Larry Irving, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator of NTIA, will serve as the Sector Liaison Official to work with the communications and information sector. For additional information on the CIP, please contact Irwin Pikus, Director, Communications and Information Infrastructure Assurance Program (CIIAP), at NTIA, 202-482-1116.

The President's goal is to achieve a reliable, interconnected, and secure information system infrastructure by the year 2003, and significantly increased security for government systems by the year 2000. The Sector Coordinators will work with NTIA and other lead agencies to:

For media inquires, please call Sallianne Fortunato, NTIA Public Affairs, at 202-482-7002, or visit NTIA's home page at http://www.ntia.doc.gov. NTIA serves as the principal adviser to the Executive Branch on domestic and international telecommunications and information issues.

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