Opening Statement
Senator Jack Reed

Joint Economic Committee Hearing:
"Wired World: Cyber Security and the U.S. Economy"
June 21, 2001

Thank you Mr. Chairman. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee as well as this committee, I am especially pleased to have the question of cyber security and the U.S. economy addressed today. Of course, the issues of security and cyberspace are myriad and complex--we will barely be able to scratch the surface in a single hearing. But, judging from the list of eminent witnesses who have agreed to appear today, I'm sure that we will learn as much as is possible during our limited time. I welcome all of our witnesses and presenters--thank you for coming before the Committee today.

Advances in information technology and applications were critical to the spectacular expansion the U.S. economy enjoyed during the 1990s. Technological advances in computing and communications, especially the internet, contributed significantly to the resurgence of U.S. productivity in recent years, and they are certain to play important economic roles for years to come.

There is little doubt that increased use of the internet has been a great boon to the U.S. economy. By the same token, however, the expansion of economic opportunities made possible by the advances in information technology and the internet has been attended by an expansion of risks as well. These risks encompass a wide range of interests, from the safeguarding of our national security and the integrity of our financial system to the preservation of the privacy of the individual, with many other interests within this spectrum as well.

We are only beginning to understand the extent of the risks to our critical infrastructure and economic security. The internet maps to be presented during today's hearing bring home the point that internet links can confuse the borders between individuals and other economic entities. Viewed as an entity in cyber space, a corporation has no clear beginning or end. Similarly, national borders are blurred within the context of cyber geography. The internet challenges us to reevaluate our traditional views of how the world works.

And, the new technology challenges us to reevaluate the way government can interact with the private economy. Is the government doing what it can to minimize the risks of cyber threats to our critical defense and civilian infrastructures? How can government best collaborate with the private sector, households and businesses, to ensure the productivity and protection of the economy?

I thank our distinguished witnesses for testifying this morning.