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Suggested Citation:"What is CSTB?." National Research Council. 2003. Information Technology for Counterterrorism: Immediate Actions and Future Possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10640.
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What Is CSTB?

As a part of the National Research Council, the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) was established in 1986 to provide independent advice to the federal government on technical and public policy issues relating to computing and communications. Composed of leaders from industry and academia, CSTB conducts studies of critical national issues and makes recommendations to government, industry, and academic researchers. CSTB also provides a neutral meeting ground for consideration of complex issues where resolution and action may be premature. It convenes invitational discussions that bring together principals from the public and private sectors, ensuring consideration of all perspectives. The majority of CSTB’s work is requested by federal agencies and Congress, consistent with its National Academies context.

A pioneer in framing and analyzing Internet policy issues, CSTB is unique in its comprehensive scope and effective, interdisciplinary appraisal of technical, economic, social, and policy issues. Beginning with early work in computer and communications security, cyber-assurance and information systems trustworthiness have been a cross-cutting theme in CSTB’s work. CSTB has produced several reports regarded as classics in the field, and it continues to address these topics as they grow in importance.

To do its work, CSTB draws on some of the best minds in the country, inviting experts to participate in its projects as a public service. Studies are conducted by balanced committees without direct financial interests in the topics they are addressing. Those committees meet, confer elec

Suggested Citation:"What is CSTB?." National Research Council. 2003. Information Technology for Counterterrorism: Immediate Actions and Future Possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10640.
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tronically, and build analyses through their deliberations. Additional expertise from around the country is tapped in a rigorous process of review and critique, further enhancing the quality of CSTB reports. By engaging groups of principals, CSTB obtains the facts and insights critical to assessing key issues.

The mission of CSTB is to:

  • Respond to requests from the government, nonprofit organizations, and private industry for advice on computer and telecommunications issues and from the government for advice on computer and telecommunications systems planning, utilization, and modernization;

  • Monitor and promote the health of the fields of computer science and telecommunications, with attention to issues of human resources, information infrastructure, and societal impacts;

  • Initiate and conduct studies involving computer science, computer technology, and telecommunications as critical resources; and

  • Foster interaction among the disciplines underlying computing and telecommunications technologies and other fields, at large and within the National Academies.

As of November 2002, current CSTB activities with a cybersecurity component address privacy in the information age, critical information infrastructure protection, authentication technologies and their privacy implications, geospatial information systems, cybersecurity research, and building certifiable dependable systems. Additional studies examine the fundamentals of computer science, information technology and creativity, computing and biology, Internet navigation and the Domain Name System, telecommunications research and development, wireless communications and spectrum management, and digital archiving and preservation. Explorations are under way in the areas of the insider threat, dependable and safe software systems, wireless communications and spectrum management, digital archiving and preservation, open source software, digital democracy, the “digital divide,” manageable systems, information technology and journalism, and women in computer science.

More information about CSTB can be obtained online at <http://www.cstb.org>.

Suggested Citation:"What is CSTB?." National Research Council. 2003. Information Technology for Counterterrorism: Immediate Actions and Future Possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10640.
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Page 127
Suggested Citation:"What is CSTB?." National Research Council. 2003. Information Technology for Counterterrorism: Immediate Actions and Future Possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10640.
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Page 128
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Information technology (IT) is essential to virtually all of the nation’s critical infrastructures making them vulnerable by a terrorist attack on their IT system. An attack could be on the system itself or use the IT system to launch or exacerbate another type of attack. IT can also be used as a counterterrorism tool. The report concludes that the most devastating consequences of a terrorist attack would occur if it were on or used IT as part of a broader attack. The report presents two recommendations on what can be done in the short term to protect the nation’s communications and information systems and several recommendations about what can be done over the longer term. The report also notes the importance of considering how an IT system will be deployed to maximize protection against and usefulness in responding to attacks.

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