July 28, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), commissioner of the CSC, have introduced a multi-tiered bill to strengthen America’s cyber resilience and improve cybersecurity among the nation’s Systemically Important Critical Infrastructure (SICI). Their bipartisan Defense of United States Infrastructure Act includes a number of key CSC recommendations to address cybersecurity risks for private and public critical infrastructure, and strengthen leadership within key cyber-focused federal offices. The Senators’ legislation comes on the heels of a newly-signed National Security Memorandum aimed at strengthening cybersecurity for the nation’s critical infrastructure; if passed, the legislation would further advance these goals by providing much-needed tools and authorities to secure SICI.
“In recent months, we’ve seen our gas pipelines, food system, water systems, and more hacked and attacked – and those are just the incidents that rose to widespread awareness. These intrusions have made one thing crystal clear: America’s critical infrastructure is dangerously vulnerable to cyber disaster,” said Senator King. “In an increasingly-wired society, a targeted cyberattack could cripple key systems, cost countless lives, and have direct impacts on our everyday life. I truly believe that the next Pearl Harbor or 9/11-scale attack will be cyber in nature – but there is still time to act and prevent catastrophe. We must strengthen our cyber resilience, defend our critical infrastructure, and give our cyber leaders the tools they need to succeed – before it’s too late.”
“We cannot ignore the massive cybersecurity vulnerabilities in American infrastructure systems,” said Senator Rounds. “As we saw with the recent hacks of U.S. companies, our country must act now to identify and prevent future cyberattacks. Our bipartisan bill strengthens the United States’ cyber defense while providing additional resources and personnel for cyber agencies. As the Ranking Member of the Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, I am glad to join my colleagues to make certain we are prepared to combat these increasingly sophisticated and targeted attacks.”
“This is the type of infrastructure we need to be focusing on and talking about. The hackings that have occurred these past few months are alarming and we need to address them now before they get worse,” said Senator Sasse. “As our world becomes more digitized the threat of cyberattacks become more dire to the well-being of our nation. This legislation will strengthen our cyber security and safeguard critical infrastructure.”
Specifically, the Defense of United States Infrastructure Act would: