April 25, 2021

Senators Hassan, Sasse Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Secure Critical Infrastructure

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chair of the Emerging Threats Subcommittee, and Ben Sasse (R-NE) introduced a bipartisan bill to help ensure that the Department of Homeland Security is identifying and addressing risks to critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure includes systems that support the economy, public health, and national security -- for instance nuclear reactors, electrical grids, banks, and hospitals.

 

“When a criminal shuts down a hospital system to get a ransomware payment or a foreign adversary hacks government agencies, we face grave threats to our national security and well-being,” said Senator Hassan. “We must stay ahead of emerging threats to critical infrastructure, and I am glad to work across the aisle to help ensure that the administration and Congress are working together to make our critical infrastructure sectors more secure.”

 

“The rules of war are being re-written. China and Russia are increasingly brazen in their use of cyber tools to get inside American critical infrastructure networks,” said Senator Sasse. “These critical systems must be more resilient. It’s time to get serious about the future of war and how we protect the systems that allow our daily life to run smoothly.”

 

Senator Hassan and Sasse’s bipartisan National Risk Management Act would strengthen the security of critical infrastructure sectors by requiring the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to continually conduct a five-year National Risk Management Cycle. At the beginning of each cycle, CISA identifies and prioritizes key risks to critical infrastructure in a report to the President and to Congress. The President then reports to Congress on how the administration is working to address these risks and any action that may be necessary from Congress. The cycle repeats to ensure that the administration stays ahead of emerging threats to critical infrastructure.

 

The bill is part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing efforts as Chair of the Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Subcommittee to strengthen the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to keep Americans safe, secure, and free. Senator Hassan successfully worked to pass the bipartisan DHS Data Framework Act – which is now law – to help ensure that analysts at the Department of Homeland Security can more efficiently identify terrorist threats. Due to the increasing number of cyber threats to government agencies and critical infrastructure, Senator Hassan introduced the bipartisan Hack DHS Act, which was signed into law, to strengthen cyber defenses at the Department of Homeland Security. Senator Hassan also successfully worked to establish a federally funded Cybersecurity Coordinator for each state, who will be responsible for helping to prevent and respond to cybersecurity threats by coordinating between federal, state, and local governments, as well as schools, hospitals, and other entities.

 

The text of Senator Hassan and Sasse’s bipartisan bill can be found here.

 

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