Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hold hearing on energy infrastructure cybersecurity

Published on March 05, 2018 by Kevin Randolph

© Shutterstock

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently held a hearing to examine cybersecurity issues related to critical energy infrastructure.

“Protecting our nation’s energy infrastructure is critical to maintaining so much of the American way of life,” Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said. “We have repeatedly heard how protection of our nation’s critical assets is a shared responsibility, with federal, state, and private sector partners working together to improve cyber defenses and sharpen responses to cyber attacks.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), ranking member of the committee, noted that there are an estimated 25,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in the energy sector. In February, Cantwell introduced legislation that would require that the Department of Energy (DOE) develop curricula for energy sector-related cybersecurity, and establish a workforce advisory board with a cybersecurity member.

Cantwell and senators also formally requested an analysis of Russian cyber warfare capabilities regarding U.S. energy infrastructure in March and June of 2017, which the Trump Administration has not responded to.

“We need to get the threat assessment done, we need to get an understanding of what our workforce need is from that threat assessment, and what other additional focuses besides just hardening of our infrastructure,” Cantwell said.