Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Report: Administration, Congress, Others Must Better Shield Electricity Grid Vs. Cyber Attack

WINSCOMBE, U.K. - The sun goes behind an electricity pylon that is sited besides the M5 motorway near Winscombe on Nov. 6, 2012. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

WINSCOMBE, U.K. – The sun goes behind an electricity pylon that is sited besides the M5 motorway near Winscombe on Nov. 6, 2012. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A high-level report on the security of the electricity grid, set for release Tuesday afternoon and led by a former White House chief of staff and Department of Homeland Security secretary, is complimentary of the Obama administration’s efforts to protect it and faults Congress for not doing enough.

Yet protecting the grid — “the most critical of critical infrastructure” and “the backbone of our modern society” — requires more action from everyone, from the executive branch to the Hill to industry, the report by the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress concludes.

The extremely thorough 172-page report — chaired by former White House Chief of Staff Thomas McLarty III and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge (Ridge (Ridge also chairs the National Security Task Force of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) — details the nature of the threat, from which countries it emanates, what has been done about it and should be done about it in all branches of government, from the state regulatory level to within the private sector. If it leaves anything out, it’s Israel’s cyber capabilities and intents vis-a-vis the United States; a chart on the subject doesn’t even mention Israel, which is extremely capable and at least willing to conduct cyber espionage against America.

The report’s dozen recommendations include passing information sharing legislation; incorporation of levers from the insurance and financial sectors into cybersecurity; better coordination in Congress between various committees with jurisdiction over cybersecurity and the electrical grid; and greater attention to the potential complications for the electricity grid caused by shifts to more renewable energy sources.

Some passages of note, starting with a reference to roundtable discussions:

Many of the participants voiced the necessity for comprehensive cybersecurity legislation to serve as a foundation for regulating and protecting various sectors—especially the electric grid—against cyber threats. Even through there have been over 100 resolutions and bills related to cybersecurity introduced since the beginning of the 111th Congress, there has not been a major piece of cybersecurity legislation that has been signed into law since 2002.

With the expansion of the capabilities of possible threat actors, this lack of legislation has left many aspects of critical infrastructure unregulated and vulnerable to attack. Many of the obstacles that have hindered the ability for lawmakers to pass cybersecurity legislation include privacy and liability concerns related to information sharing within the post-[Edward] Snowden environment; forming and implementing standards for critical infrastructure; the development of trust between the private sector and the federal government; and the designation of the roles and scope of federal agencies, such as DHS and NSA.

Additionally, one of the major challenges inhibiting the passage of new legislation is the varied nature of the industry. Electric utilities come in a variety of sizes, and they report to regulatory institutions both in the public and private sectors. There are also a multitude of government agencies, committees, regulatory bodies, and utility companies that have a stake in securing the grid. These organizations cross local, state, federal, and even international boundaries. As discussed previously, these organizations also have different—although sometimes overlapping—responsibilities.

Legislation needs to be able to address these varied needs and avoid a one-size-fits-all mentality. In additional, the majority of the legislation that has been introduced within Congress has not focused specifically on the electrical grid but rather on the 16 sectors of critical infrastructure.

Another, on the punitive nature of existing policies:

The incentive structure in the electric grid is off-balance, according to experts and roundtable participants. Following the “carrot-stick” analogy (carrots as rewards and sticks as punishments), the current system has too many sticks and not enough carrots. Legislation should help facilitate a new balance, one that does not over-emphasize regulation at the cost of trust and goodwill among sectors.

On the executive branch’s approach, and the need for more:

It is encouraging for utilities that the Obama Administration has been actively engaged in the issue of grid security and cybersecurity, as it is clear the executive branch recognizes the importance of addressing the cyber vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure. In the current political environment, the president is capable of advancing cybersecurity and critical infrastructure policies without formalized legislation. Because of the current Congressional gridlock, this alternative pathway is necessary. While ideally both the executive and legislative branches will work together to improve grid security, in lieu of legislation, the Administration’s actions are more critical than ever…

While recent executive action is a useful step forward for grid security, progress cannot end now. With or without legislation, the administration needs to either begin or continue to address information sharing, industry exchange, balance of agency responsibilities, and research & technology.

The project directors are Maxmillian Angerholzer III, president and CEO of the Center; Frank J. Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University; and Dan Mahaffee, the Center’s director of policy.

The chairman and top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee are slated to appear at the unveiling of the report Tuesday.

Comments (27)

  1. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    9:21 a.m.

    Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  2. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    3:27 p.m.

    computer hardware and software program rates, at the same time as Internet usage charges have dropped significantly. Ultimately, technological developments and adjustments in social habits within the 1990s have played a significant role within this tremendous growth in the use of computers. Todays society relies heavily on computers for immediate access towards the news and for entertainment, including, listening to music, watching movies and sport events, and playing personal computer games.

  3. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    3:31 p.m.

    Report: Administration, Congress, Others Must Better Shield Electricity Grid Vs. Cyber Attack – Five by Five

  4. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    5:20 p.m.

  5. Anonymous

    July 8, 2015
    8:42 p.m.

    elles sont superbes tres contente de mien acquisition en compagnie de jag , livraison tres rapide indulgence

  6. Anonymous

    July 9, 2015
    5:12 a.m.

    I have read several just right stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to make any such fantastic informative website.

  7. Anonymous

    July 12, 2015
    3:32 p.m.

    Very interesting information!Perfect just what I was searching for!

  8. Anonymous

    July 18, 2015
    5:43 a.m.

    My spouse and i got so more than happy that Albert managed to deal with his studies through your precious recommendations he got in your web site. It is now and again perplexing to simply possibly be giving out instructions other folks may have been trying to sell. We discover we have got the blog owner to appreciate for that. The type of illustrations you have made, the simple website navigation, the friendships you can make it easier to create – it is many awesome, and it’s letting our son in addition to the family understand the matter is thrilling, which is wonderfully mandatory. Many thanks for the whole lot!

  9. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    3:10 a.m.

    Some genuinely superb articles on this website, appreciate it for contribution. “He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.” by Benjamin Franklin.

  10. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    11:12 a.m.

    Pretty component of content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to say that I get actually loved account your weblog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing on your augment or even I fulfillment you get admission to persistently quickly.

  11. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    7:42 p.m.

    I’d need to test with you here. Which is not something I often do! I get pleasure from reading a publish that will make people think. Additionally, thanks for permitting me to remark!

  12. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    7:41 p.m.

    You made a few fine points there. I did a search on the theme and found mainly people will consent with your blog.

  13. Anonymous

    July 26, 2015
    8:50 a.m.

    With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement. Do you know any solutions to help protect against content from being ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  14. Anonymous

    July 26, 2015
    11:29 a.m.

    Ahaa, its good dialogue about this paragraph here at this web site, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

  15. Anonymous

    July 26, 2015
    11:31 a.m.

    Keep this going please, great job!

  16. Anonymous

    July 26, 2015
    8:24 p.m.

    Hi there very nice website!! Man .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally? I am glad to seek out a lot of helpful info here in the post, we’d like develop extra techniques on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  17. Anonymous

    July 26, 2015
    10:10 p.m.

    What’s up to all, it’s genuinely a nice for me to pay a quick visit this site, it consists of valuable Information.

  18. Anonymous

    July 30, 2015
    7:35 p.m.

    Hello.This post was really remarkable, especially because I was looking for thoughts on this matter last Friday.

  19. Anonymous

    July 31, 2015
    11:20 a.m.

    Wow! This can be one particular of the most useful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Excellent. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your effort.

  20. Anonymous

    Aug. 2, 2015
    3:26 p.m.

    Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  21. Anonymous

    Aug. 3, 2015
    4:15 p.m.

    Z1JQvg Really enjoyed this article post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  22. Anonymous

    Aug. 6, 2015
    5:10 a.m.

    Howdy very cool website!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m satisfied to seek out a lot of useful information here within the put up, we need work out more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.

  23. Anonymous

    Aug. 6, 2015
    6:18 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your next post thanks once again. Have a good day !

  24. Anonymous

    Aug. 7, 2015
    7:59 a.m.

    Howdy very nice web site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds additionallyKI’m satisfied to seek out so many helpful information right here in the submit, we need develop extra strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  25. Anonymous

    Aug. 9, 2015
    8:21 p.m.

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

  26. Anonymous

    Aug. 12, 2015
    5:46 p.m.

    I likewise conceive thence, perfectly written post! .

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...