April 28, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), today applauded the Senate’s 67 to 27 vote to go to conference on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, containing two CSC recommendations to strengthen the nation’s cyberdefenses. The bipartisan legislation, which previously passed the Senate in June 2021, invests in American technological innovation, strengthens U.S. leadership in scientific research, and improves key cybersecurity defenses in the face of increased threats. The legislation will now go to a conference to resolve differences between the Senate’s legislation and the House’s companion bill, the America COMPETES Act, Senator King has emphasized the importance of securing key cyber provisions through the conference, and last month joined fellow CSC Co-Chair Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) to send a letter to Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell outlining the vital cybersecurity priorities that should be included in the final bill.
“American innovation has driven decades of technological progress that has supported countless good-paying jobs and created life-changing developments that have improved all our lives. But as we face growing challenges from China and Russia, it is critical that we accelerate American investment in the technologies of the future,” said Senator King. “We must act now to cement American leadership for the 21st century and check the anti-democratic powers seeking to exert their influence. This historic, bipartisan legislation will boost American innovation, create jobs in growing industries, and make critical improvements to our cyberdefenses that will help protect our critical infrastructure.
“Today’s passage of this legislation is an important step in the right direction – but the work is not yet finished. As the bill proceeds to a conference to determine the final package, I continue to urge all of my colleagues to include the vital cyber provisions we need to defend America’s networks in the final legislation,” continued Senator King. “The urgency of this threat has never been higher, and each bill includes language that can make our country safer – so let’s take the best of both bills, and create a final package that will strengthen our nation’s cyber resiliency.”
Among many important provisions in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, the bipartisan legislation creates a new Directorate for Technology and Innovation at the National Science Foundation, which will receive $100 billion over five years to support research and innovation in technologies that have geostrategic implications for the United States. The legislation also includes number of provisions led and supported by Senator King, including two key Cyberspace Solarium Commission recommendations. The first would codify a “Cyber State of Distress and Cyber Response Fund” in the event of, or in preparation for, a significant cyber incident or series of incidents. The second would establish a National Risk Management Cycle, requiring a four-year cycle of risk identification and assessment to support critical infrastructure resilience, in order to make sure that our lines of defense are regularly refreshed and strengthened.
The House’s companion bill, the America COMPETES Act, also included several provisions championed by Co-Chairs King and Gallagher. In their letter to House and Senate leadership last month, they called for these provisions to be included in the final package. Specifically, the House’s America COMPETES Act includes provisions to:
· Reduce American dependency on untrusted vendors beholden to foreign powers by requiring the President to develop a strategy for information and communication technology critical to the economic competitiveness of the United States.
· Strengthen America’s local, state, and federal cybersecurity workforce by expanding CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service, a proven ROTC-like program for recruiting and developing cybersecurity talent to work at all levels of government.
· Improve the security of America’s software and technology ecosystem by supporting the software security and digital privacy work of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and designating Critical Technology Security Centers to evaluate and test the security of technologies essential to national critical functions.
· Create international capacity-building programs to improve the cybersecurity of U.S. allies and partners.
As Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Senator King is committed to advancing American competitiveness in 21st century technologies while improving national security and strengthening cyberdefenses. Senator King is the co-chair of the Senate Semiconductor Caucus, and has been one of the Senate’s strongest advocates for American energy storage technology. He is recognized as one of Congress’s leading experts on cyberdefense and advocates for a forward-thinking cyberstrategy that emphasizes layered cyberdeterrence. Since the CSC officially launched in April 2019, dozens of CSC recommendations have been enacted into law, including the creation of a National Cyber Director.