Legislative Branch Activity

Cybersecurity Legislation

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is expected to mark up a bipartisan cybersecurity bill before the end of this month. A draft of the bill is currently being circulated and contains provisions that would codify the role of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to continue its efforts to bring together the public and private sectors on various issues, including cybersecurity. The draft bill also addresses cybersecurity workforce training, education, and research and development programs. The committee plans to focus on issues within their jurisdiction, with other critical aspects of cybersecurity left to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee. Those committees have stated they are working on draft legislation to be released in the coming months.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, July 23: At 2:00 pm, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific will hold a hearing titled “Asia: The Cyber Security Battleground.” Phyllis Schneck, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at McAfee Inc., and James Lewis, Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic International Studies, are scheduled to testify at the hearing.
  • Thursday, July 25: The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing at 2:30 pm titled “The Partnership Between NIST and the Private Sector: Improving Cybersecurity.” The hearing will explore NIST’s work with the private sector to develop and promote cybersecurity standards and best practices for critical infrastructure through the Cybersecurity Framework process required by the Exexutive Order (E.O.).

Executive Branch Activity

Designation of Critical Infrastructure

As part of the E.O., the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was required to compile a list of the critical infrastructure that is most at risk of a catastrophic cyber attack. DHS officials indicated that they have completed this list and are in the process of confidentially notifying owners and operators of critical infrastructure that have been identified on the list. Director of the DHS Integrated Task Force on Cybersecurity Robert Kolasky recently stated that publication of this list is “under consideration,” but no decisions have been made as of now on whether to publicly release the list.

DHS Departure

Another DHS official has announced his departure from the department after Secretary Janet Napolitano stated last week that she plans to step down in September. Bruce McConnell, Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity, announced this week that he will resign from DHS on August 10. His replacement has not yet been identified.