Cybersecurity Gets a Push Into President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill

Cybersecurity Gets a Push Into President Biden's Infrastructure Bill yvette clarke smiles for the camera Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., attends and event in 2017. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Starz)

By Nick Koutsobinas | Wednesday, 07 April 2021 08:24 PM

Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., chairwoman for the House's Homeland Security Committee's cybersecurity subcommittee, said Wednesday she would be pushing for including language in President Biden's infrastructure proposal to protect critical systems, according to The Hill.

"I believe the administration's infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan, is an opportunity to ensure that security is integrated, or baked into, critical infrastructure projects at the beginning, and not tacked on at the end or patched up along the way."

The $2.25 million infrastructure package did not make any mention of protecting the electric grid. In March, the electric grid in Texas went down after a winter storm hit the region. Clarke said she was determined to protect the critical systems in our country from cyber attacks, "[I'm] committed to working with stakeholders to find opportunities to ensure that critical infrastructure is resilient to the cyber threats we face."

Clark mentioned that she would reintroduce legislation that would provide $500 million in grants to protect cybersecurity infrastructure, which she cites as currently underfunded.

"Improving the baseline of our cybersecurity posture across infrastructure sectors is crucial to ensuring the continuity of operations, of effective industry, and the freeing of cyber talent to defend against more sophisticated threats….Toward that end, in the coming weeks, I will introduce the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act."

A spokesperson for the National Security Council said the administration, "launched a 100 Day Control Systems cybersecurity initiative," that is "working closely with the private sector that manages much of this critical infrastructure like those for electricity and water, to improve cybersecurity."

Jeff Greene, who works as the director of the National Cybersecurity Centre for Excellence at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) said on Wednesday, "We are working on a plan for cybersecurity in the critical infrastructure sector that is, pieces of it are hopefully going to be rolled out relatively soon.

"Just because you aren't seeing that necessarily mentioned in Column A doesn't mean we aren't working on it pretty aggressively in Column B."

He continued, adding that efforts are being pushed to bolster cybersecurity, "Again, it's not fully out there yet, but we are actively working on that issue with the program that we hope to roll out pretty soon to try to hit the things we can think can make the biggest impact the quickest."

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