Lawmakers Call for National Cyber Security Czar
Rockefeller, Snowe bill would establish one cyber security official based in the White House to coordinate cyber security efforts between government agencies and the private sector.
Legislation that would create a
national cyber security czar reporting directly to the White House was
introduced April 1 by U.S. Senators John D. Rockefeller (D-WVA) and Olympia
(R-ME). The new position would serve as the government's top official
on all cyber security matters, including coordinating efforts between
the government and the private sector.
While the U.S. currently has cyber security systems in place, the lawmakers questioned the government's overall coordination efforts and the need for heightened security for the country's private infrastructure.
"We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs - from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records - the list goes on," Rockefeller said in a statement. "It's an understatement to say that cyber security is one of the most important issues we face; the increasingly connected nature of our lives only amplifies our vulnerability to cyber attacks and we must act now."
According to a number of media reports, the bill was crafted with the cooperation of the White House. The legislation aims to create a fully integrated, coordinated public-private partnership on cyber security in addition to pushing for innovation and creativity for cyber security solutions.
The bill would also require a threat and vulnerability assessment to gain a comprehensive and coordinated understanding of the threats and vulnerabilities of public systems and private-sector owned critical infrastructure. In addition, the new cyber czar would be required to review the feasibility of an identity management and authentication program and to include recommendations regarding civil liberties protections.
"America's vulnerability to massive cyber crime, global cyber espionage, and cyber attacks has emerged as one of the most urgent national security problems facing our country today," Snowe said in the joint statement with Rockefeller. "Importantly, this legislation loosely parallels the recommendations in the CSIS blue-ribbon panel report to President Obama and has been embraced by a number of industry and government thought leaders."