Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) has introduced the Executive Cyberspace Coordination Act, which aims to strengthen the country’s defenses against cyber threats. The Act reflects concerns highlighted in a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, which Langevin co-chaired, including the vulnerability of critical infrastructure.
“Our society relies on technology. Our power grid, financial systems, health care infrastructure, communications systems, national security apparatus – essentially everything that enables our way of life – are all dependent on cyberspace,” Langevin said in a statement. The congressman is a member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. “We must establish a comprehensive strategy to improve our technological infrastructure in order to ensure the safety of our cyber networks.”
The Executive Cyberspace Coordination Act will update the federal government’s ability to respond to challenges in cyberspace and bring additional protections to critical infrastructure, such as the power grid. Among the major provisions in the bill, is the creation of a National Office for Cyberspace to coordinate and oversee the security of information systems across the federal government. The bill also includes a mechanism to better coordinate the resources of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, under the authority of the Office of the President; directs the creation of secure federal acquisition policies; and provides for the strengthening of critical infrastructure protections and of the public-private partnership that is essential for any cybersecurity effort to be successful.
“Our critical infrastructure is vulnerable to attack, but it should not take a catastrophic event to move us to action,” Langevin continued. “We must be proactive on all fronts in order to protect our networks now and invest in cyber improvements in the future, and that will only be possible through ongoing collaboration between the public sector and private industry.”
The bill also directs the government to support technical education for students. As co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, Rep. Langevin has long supported the High School Cyber Challenge, and would like to see additional programming offered at the state and federal level.
“In order to strengthen our cyber defenses, we must have a workforce that is trained in the latest technologies,” Langevin said. “We must engage our students in the fields that will not only prepare them to thrive in a well-paying industry with high growth potential, but will also improve our cybersecurity capabilities.”