Chairman Carper Statement on Cybersecurity Executive Order

WASHINGTON – Tonight, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), a co-author of S.21, the Cybersecurity and American Cyber Competitiveness Act of 2013 and the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, lauded the President for taking important steps to address the security and resilience of the nation’s critical cyber infrastructure. While the executive action, announced by the President during his State of the Union address, makes significant advances in improving critical infrastructure security and facilitating information-sharing about cyber threats, Chairman Carper underscores the urgent need for comprehensive, bipartisan cybersecurity legislation and remains committed to working with his colleagues, the Administration, and stakeholders to address remaining gaps in the executive order and keep pace with an increasingly complex and dangerous threat.

“The Internet touches the lives of everyone in American society on a daily basis,” said Chairman Carper. “It’s where we communicate, work, shop, and bank. It also plays a vital role for key critical infrastructure, such as the electric grid, our water supply and our transportation networks. Yet every day, we learn of more cyber attacks that underscore just how vulnerable we really are to hackers seeking to steal from us or do us harm. Given all that relies on a safe and secure Internet, it is vital that we do what’s necessary to protect ourselves from these repeated attacks. Our nation needs a modern approach to ensuring the security of cyber space and while my colleagues and I in the Senate tried to move bipartisan legislation last year to address this threat, at the end of the day we weren’t able to come to consensus. That was unfortunate because the threat is so serious and it demands that we take action. We can’t continue to wait and remain vulnerable to these attacks. The President’s executive order is an important step in our effort to better protect our nation’s cyber networks. I am encouraged by the White House’s inclusive approach to this complex issue and by its outreach to industry and other stakeholders. The voluntary framework and information sharing improvements developed under this issuance are vital components of ensuring the security and resiliency of our critical infrastructure and I commend the Administration for using existing authorities and drawing ideas from bipartisan legislation in our ongoing fight against this growing threat. Furthermore, I look forward to reviewing in greater detail the accompanying policy directive to update our current approach to critical infrastructure protection. That being said, more action is needed to address cybersecurity and I still believe that bipartisan legislation offers the best long-term solution to this serious security threat. That’s why I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the Administration and stakeholders to build on this executive order to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation as soon as possible. The first step in that effort will be holding a hearing on this executive order and the broader cyber threat, something that I hope my colleagues and I are able to do in the coming weeks.”