WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) today announced the introduction of comprehensive cybersecurity legislation to address our nation’s vulnerability to cyber crime, global cyber espionage, and cyber attacks that could potentially cripple the United States’ critical infrastructure.
Currently, the U.S. has systems in place to protect our nation’s secrets and our government networks against cyber espionage, and it is imperative that those cyber defenses keep up with our enemies’ cyber capabilities. However, another great vulnerability our country faces is the threat to our private sector critical infrastructure–banking, utilities, air/rail/auto traffic control, telecommunications–from disruptive cyber attacks that could literally shut down our way of life.
“We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs – from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records – the list goes on. It’s an understatement to say that cybersecurity is one of the most important issues we face; the increasingly connected nature of our lives only amplifies our vulnerability to cyber attacks and we must act now.” said Senator Rockefeller.
Senator Rockefeller went on to say, ”As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I know the threats we face. Our enemies are real, they are sophisticated, they are determined and they will not rest. I believe Congress must bring new high-level governmental attention to develop a fully integrated, thoroughly coordinated, public-private partnership to our cybersecurity efforts in the 21st century.”
“America’s vulnerability to massive cyber crime, global cyber espionage, and cyber attacks has emerged as one of the most urgent national security problems facing our country today” said Senator Snowe. “The Rockefeller-Snowe initiative will carve a course for our country to embrace a 21st century national security policy that will protect and preserve American cyberspace. Uniquely designed to establish a fully integrated public-private partnership to coordinate cyber security efforts, this legislation will ensure we have many of the tools to target, isolate and effectively combat cyber-attacks in America. Importantly, this legislation loosely parallels the recommendations in the CSIS blue-ribbon panel report to President Obama and has been embraced by a number of industry and government thought leaders.”
Snowe added, “Our failure to implement effective policies and procedures to protect critical infrastructure, prevent invasive intrusion and conduct an aggressive threat assessment has proven extremely consequential, putting the American information system at grave risk. It is abundantly clear we must unite on all fronts to confront this monumental challenge, if we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina.”
KEY PROVISIONS OF COMPREHENSIVE CYBERSECURITY LEGISLATION:
• Significantly raising the profile of cybersecurity within the Federal government and streamlining cyber-related government functions and authorities.
• Promoting public awareness and protecting civil liberties.
• Remaking the relationship between government and the private sector on cybersecurity.
• Fostering innovation and creativity in cybersecurity to develop long-term solutions.
An important component of this legislation is to establish the Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor within the Executive Office of the President. The National Cybersecurity Advisor will lead this office and report directly to the President. The Advisor will serve as the lead official on all cyber matters, coordinating with the intelligence community, as well as the civilian agencies.