Safeguarding our economy and our future

Recent high-profile cyber incidents including the Russian interference in the 2016 election, the breach at Equifax that compromised the personally identifiable information (PII) of 145.5 million people, email database breaches, and the rise of Ransomware have shown the very real consequences of cyber threats. Technology touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives for the better, but cyber threats have evolved alongside new innovations. It’s time to do more to secure our nation, families and businesses.

The future of our nation’s economy, security, and our very democracy will depend on our ability to effectively operate in the cyber domain. Just as the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control work to advance research and responses to public health epidemics, the federal government needs a mechanism to better safeguard the public against cyber threats and better monitor threats against the federal government. It is time for the country to develop a better comprehensive cyber strategy.

There’s a lot more that can be done to keep our country safe, so we came together to start the Cybersecurity Task Force as members of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of forward-thinking, pro-innovation Democrats in the House of Representatives. We are committed to implementing a tough and smart national security strategy that secures our homeland and protects our values. The Task Force builds on New Dem members’ work in drafting and passing the Cybersecurity Act by promoting additional policies (both domestic and international), public-private sector cooperation, and innovation that protects more individuals, businesses and governments from cyber-attacks.

We know government doesn’t have all the answers; through working cooperatively with the private sector, together, we can develop stronger defenses and partnerships to protect critical infrastructure against cyberattacks. New Democrats are bringing the private sector to the table with government to cut across siloed committees and develop holistic cyber policies. We have identified five key issue areas to do so:

  1. Foster and encourage public-private and industry-wide information sharing;
  2. Develop stronger defenses and partnerships to protect critical infrastructure against cyberattacks;
  3. Invest in and develop stronger technologies and defenses for data and information security at the public sector, private sector, and individual levels;
  4. Develop a strong cyber workforce pipeline and attract them to both the private and public sectors;
  5. Secure and defend the Internet of Things (IoT).

Our first responsibility as members of Congress is to keep America safe. We need to invest in a 21st century military force and in national security agencies that adapt to modern challenges and eliminate foreign and domestic threats without reckless interventions. We must advance a comprehensive national security policy that focuses on all threats in order to keep Americans truly safe. We must leverage public-private partnerships to strengthen our nation’s cyber defense and foster the development of greater cybersecurity both within the government and outside of the regulatory bureaucracy. We must also leverage organizations such as the National Guard to facilitate federal, state, and local cooperation, and strengthen state and local cyber defense and response capabilities.

Earlier this year, we sent a letter to President Trump urging his administration to make substantial cybersecurity improvements and investments. In particular, we urged the administration to lead by example and invest in building the cyber workforce and modernizing federal IT, strengthen public private partnerships, and invest in the cyber infrastructure that helps keep our nation secure. We also urged the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to rethink its federal cybersecurity hiring and training process. Currently, our country faces unprecedented cybersecurity challenges, yet the federal government struggles to recruit and retain qualified cyber professionals. New Dems encouraged OPM to explore ways to adjust their requirements and streamline the hiring process for federal cybersecurity jobs, including looking to the private sector for ideas.

This week, we are releasing a white paper with more ideas on how the public and private sectors can work together to thwart future threats. Too often we hear stories of personal records being compromised by hackers punching holes in our cyber defenses. It’s time we had better protection for consumers, workers, businesses and governments. As New Democrats, we stand ready to work across the aisle and with experts from the private sector to ensure we’re investing in our cyber workforce and infrastructure while protecting Americans and our democracy from future cyber threats.

Source: The Hill