Posted by Randy | October 12, 2015
17 percent. That’s the approximate amount that the average American pays in combined federal, state, and local government wireless taxes and fees on their phone bill each month, according to research by the Tax Foundation.
We should all be able to agree that something needs to be done about this. Especially since for many Americans, cell phones are increasingly their sole means of communication and connectivity. It’s unfair for the government to single out one set of consumers (like wireless users). Yet that is exactly what they are continuing to do.
I’m championing a bill to stop state and local governments from tacking on any new taxes and fees on specific communications services, like wireless, for five years. During this freeze, there is time for state and local governments to make common sense changes to their communications tax structures, modernizing them to reflect current usage patterns. Take a look at H.R. 1087.
I also supported a bill to keep internet access tax-free. Learn more about the bill, here.
Posted by Randy | September 04, 2015
22 million. That is the approximate number of people impacted by the recent hack against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which a number of accounts have attributed to the Chinese government. Although this malicious hack has not be formally confirmed to have originated the Chinese government, there is no shortage of evidence that China is actively promoting cyber espionage. And they are not just hacking personal information—they are also suspected of making off with some of our most sensitive military technology and the medical data of millions of Americans.
Lawmakers press Obama to sanction China
The Hill | Thursday, September 3, 2015
Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) on Thursday called on President Obama to impose economic sanctions on China “to let the world know that state sponsored hacking will have tangible repercussions.”
In a letter to the White House, Wilson and Forbes pointed to mounting evidence of Beijing’s active promotion of cyber espionage, specifically its alleged hack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
The congressmen said the White House has pursued an “incoherent deterrent strategy” when it comes to state-backed cyber espionage.
While Obama authorized additional sanctions for certain North Korean officials in response to the attack on Sony Pictures, the representatives said he has taken no such action against the five Chinese military hackers indicted on economic espionage charges in 2014.
Some observers say it’s unlikely the five members of the People’s Liberation Army charged in 2014 will ever see the inside of a U.S. court room, and that the purpose of the indictments was simply to send a diplomatic warning.
“A clear and unwavering line needs to be drawn by your Administration in protecting the intellectual property and personal data of U.S. based companies, as well as government data and personnel information,” Wilson and Forbes wrote.
The representatives’ call comes in the wake of recent White House leaks that revealed the administration is developing possible economic sanctions to use as a tool to deter China cyber spying.
The unnamed White House sources suggested that those sanctions would most likely be targeted at Chinese companies, not Beijing — and that the OPM hack would not be one of the actions subject to sanctions.
Policy experts say there is a critical distinction between hacking for commercial gain and hacking for traditional intelligence purposes. Most reports indicate that the sanctions would address only the former.
The president has been under increasing pressure to take a more offensive stance on cyber espionage where China is concerned, with rhetoric amongst D.C. lawmakers reaching a fever pitch in the wake of the OPM hack.
“One of the conclusions we’ve reached is that we need to be a bit more public about our responses, and one reason is deterrence,” a White House official told The New York Times in an oft-quoted interview on administration policy. “We need to disrupt and deter what our adversaries are doing in cyberspace, and that means you need a full range of tools to tailor a response.”
“We strongly urge your Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, to apply punitive economic sanctions to entities and individuals conducting cyberattacks to punish and deter such action,” Wilson and Forbes wrote.
Posted by Randy | August 07, 2014
A recent report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the U.S. ranks below average when it comes to innovation in primary and secondary schools.
I supported the STEM Education Act of 2014, H.Res.5031, which expands the definition of STEM education to include computer science and ensures the awarding of National Science Foundation grants to improve STEM learning outcomes, as well as research that advances the field of informal STEM education. I will continue to support the expansion of STEM education throughout the Commonwealth and across the country.
Posted by Randy | April 03, 2014
Since 1998, the Department of Commerce has exercised control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private, non-profit organization that manages basic functions of the Internet.
Earlier this month, however, the administration announced its intent to relinquish control of ICANN to the global Internet community.
In 2012, the House and Senate unanimously passed resolutions expressing the sense of Congress that the administration should maintain the United States’ support of a global Internet free from government control, and work to preserve and advance the multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet today.
Question of the week: Do you support transitioning authority of the Internet to a global community?
( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other.
Take the Poll here.
Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | January 13, 2012
In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in FCC v. Pacifica that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had the power to police public broadcast radio and television programming during times when children typically watch and listen to radio and television (6:00 AM and 10:00 PM). This week, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments over whether the FCC should still have a role in regulating the public airwaves or whether its indecency regulations violate guarantees of free speech. Broadcasters say the FCC policy is unconstitutionally vague and violates free-speech rights. Specifically, Fox Television Stations is requesting the Supreme Court to abandon a rule that allows more government regulation of broadcast, compared with cable, because of the scarcity of the airwaves and the pervasiveness of broadcast TV and radio. Proponents of the regulation, however, argue that broadcasters utilize public airwaves that the government is entitled to regulate in order to prevent the proliferation of indecency during traditional family viewing hours.
Posted by Randy | June 24, 2011
Imagine if the federal government could ask the “what if” questions about a wide variety of national disasters from natural to manmade. Imagine a crisis that could be solved in hours or days, rather than months, or, better yet, prevent it altogether. Imagine a virtual command center where hundreds of ideas from across the nation could be simulated, rated for effectiveness, and placed into effect across all federal agencies within a matter of moments. Imagine if our nation had had the opportunity to train and prepare for disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill before they even happened.
This week, the 6th Annual Congressional Modeling and Simulation Expo showcased ways in which that can be done through the use of modeling and simulation technology. In today’s high-tech society and with the increasing potential of global threats, the federal government must be prepared for national emergencies, and M&S is uniquely positioned to provide practice for responding quickly and effectively to disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill.
Read more about the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus, which I founded and chair, here.
Here are some photos of the event.
Posted by Randy | May 27, 2011
Recent news reports are now suggesting that energy-hungry China is ‘cranking up the heat’ in its efforts to reach nuclear fusion, a scientific achievement that has long eluded the United States.
China Cranks Up Heat on Nuclear Fusion
Is China’s latest technological drive going to end up producing yet another Sputnik moment for the U.S.?
Posted by Randy | March 08, 2011
Last week during a hearing in the House Armed Services Committee, I asked Secretary of the Army John McHugh how important modeling and simulation is to the Army and what kind of future he sees for this technology.
Secretary McHugh's comments are critical. Modeling and simulation technology is so important to our United States military as we face both the realities of significant budget constraints and twenty-first century warfare.
As the founder and chairman of the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus, I have championed the use of this technology in our military. I’ve also joined with other Members of Congress to look at ways to take modeling and simulation beyond the battlefield by increasing collaboration around this technology as a tool to better respond to national catastrophes, both natural and man-made.
You can read more about modeling and simulation here.
Posted by Randy | January 14, 2011
"It's an area with no rules, there are no boundaries, it happens with the speed of light," the military's top officer Admiral Mike Mullen said at the Washington Foreign Press Center.
He was referring to cyberspace, an area that is considered a “lawless terrain.”
Admiral Mullen went on to warn that the threat of a cyber attack on the U.S. is substantial, and that it could have a devastating impact on our nation.
Many individuals do not realize the extent to which cyberattacks could impact us as a nation. The U.S. is more dependent on our computer systems than any other country – from military readiness to transportation and energy grids to banking systems to national security operations to civilian infrastructure. An infiltration of any of these systems could sabotage power plants or financial markets with an online attack, stop transportation systems with a hacking of communication systems, or result in billions of dollars in annual losses to businesses around the globe.
I have long said that it is not enough to simply promise to deter and protect our national systems; we need to have a whole-of-government and state-of-the art strategic cyberdefense plan. I have requested hearings on cybersecurity plans, and intend to do the same in the 112th Congress so we can begin moving towards a solution.
I am also a member of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, whose purpose is to actively create dialogue among members of Congress to identify challenges and make recommendations on cybersecurity.
Weigh in on this issue: Do you believe the U.S. is prepared for a cyber attack? Do you think enhancing the state of cyber security in the U.S. should be a priority?
Posted by Randy | December 07, 2010
I wanted to make sure you saw this must-read article in today’s Wall Street Journal on why cybersecurity should be one of our prime strategic objectives:
How to Fight and Win the Cyberwar
While Obama focused #SOTU on his legacy, many Americans watching were questioning the legacy we're leaving their children & grandchildren