The System Security Study Committee was formed by the Computer Science and Technology Board (which became the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board in September 1990) in response to a fall 1988 request from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to address the security and trustworthiness of U.S. computing and communications systems. The committee was charged with developing a national research, engineering, and policy agenda to help the United States achieve a more trustworthy computing technology base by the end of the century.

DARPA asked the committee to take a broad outlook — to consider the interrelationship of security and other qualities (e.g., safety and reliability), commercialization as well as research, and the diverse elements of the research and policy communities.

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