WASHINGTON, D.C.—A bipartisan group of national security experts sent a letter to Leaders Reid and McConnell urging swift action on cybersecurity legislation, writing that “protection of our critical infrastructure is essential in order to effectively protect our national and economic security from the growing cyber threat.”
Michael Chertoff, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; Vice Admiral Mike McConnell, former Director of National Intelligence; Paul Wolfowitz, former Deputy U.S. Secretary of Defense; General Michael Hayden, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; General James Cartwright, retired vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and William Lynn, former Deputy U.S. Secretary of Defense, expressed their belief that performance standards for critical infrastructure are an essential component of any cybersecurity legislation.
“We do feel strongly that critical infrastructure protection needs to be addressed in any cyber security legislation,” the experts wrote. “Infrastructure that controls our electricity, water and sewer, nuclear plants, communications backbone, energy pipelines and financial networks must be required to meet appropriate cyber security standards. Where market forces and existing regulations have failed to drive appropriate security, we believe that our government must do what it can to ensure the protection of our critical infrastructure.”
Since early 2009, Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV has been working on cybersecurity legislation that creates a partnership between the private sector and the federal government to protect our country from threats to critical infrastructure. The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, S. 2105, introduced by Senators Rockefeller, Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins, and Dianne Feinstein, would give the Department of Homeland Security authority to collaborate with the private sector to establish minimum security standards for the systems that control the nation’s most critical infrastructure.