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March 05, 2019

King Urges Greater Cybersecurity Resiliency For Military Contractors

In Armed Services hearing, King urges head of U.S. Transportation Command to use utilize “red teams” to identify weaknesses in cyber defenses of the military’s private sector partners

WASHINGTON, DC – During a hearing in the Senate Armed Services, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today pressed General Stephen Lyons, Commander of United States Transportation Command, about the cybersecurity of the military’s private sector partners for shipping, transportation, and logistics, and ways for the military to drive improvements by those partners. Specifically, Senator King raised the concept of ‘red teams’, in which hacking experts attempt to penetrate the systems of a business or organization in order to identify security flaws. Also during the hearing, Senator King questioned General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Commander of United States European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, about America’s deterrence strategy to prevent military incursions by Russia in Eastern Europe.


“General Lyons, you mentioned in your testimony and it's clear that a large part of your responsibility is met through civilian enterprises, shipping, airplanes,” said Senator King. “…Please outline for us your level and satisfaction and confidence in the cybersecurity of the private sector partners…Do you red team their systems? Self-analysis doesn't make me a lot sleep better at night. Do you have a red team capacity where you can mock attack them show them vulnerabilities?... I would urge to you consider that as an option in other areas of the government that's been effective it has a way of waking people up when a skull and crossbones appears on the CEO’s computer.”

Senator King is known in the Senate as an outspoken advocate for cybersecurity and has pressed top leaders across a variety of sectors on the steps they are taking to deter and prevent attacks. Last month, Senator King took part in a Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) hearing on cybersecurity where he emphasized the need for urgent action, questioned James Robb, President and CEO of North American Energy Reliability Corporation, about the dangers of foreign equipment in America’s energy grid, and urged Mr. Robb to recommend red teams to America’s utilities.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator King is recognized as a thoughtful voice on national security and foreign policy issues in the Senate. In addition to his committee work, he serves on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the Senate North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Observer Group, and the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.

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