Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) in a hearing on advanced cyber technologies, called for increased collaboration between the government, private sector, utilities, military, and academia to protect U.S. energy infrastructure from cyber attacks.
During the hearing Senator Cantwell said, “Cybersecurity is the one issue that keeps me up at night, worrying about how foreign entities and actors might attack us.”
“So if we don’t make the necessary investments to prevent and defend against these impacts, our enemies could succeed in causing widespread blackouts, or devastate the economy,” said Senator Cantwell.
Senator Cantwell has previously voiced concern regarding the Trump administration’s budget cuts to cybersecurity programs. “The Trump Administration’s proposed budget cuts to cyber programs at Department of Energy (DOE) put our critical energy infrastructure at risk. I have conveyed those concerns to the Administration in two letters and spent a lot of time this summer hoping that they would see the impacts here to our budget,” said Sen. Cantwell.
Senator Cantwell highlighted the work the national labs are currently doing in an effort to bolster U.S. cybersecurity. “The good news is our National Labs are ready to play a key role in bolstering our cybersecurity. And they do so in close collaboration with the private sector. PNNL’s cyber firewall blocks 24 million suspected internet communications, 25,000 of which are confirmed cyber-attacks. That’s what they do each day. So, I do not doubt that they know how to help protect our country and our important missions,” said Senator Cantwell.
During the hearing, Senator Cantwell called for, “an increase in collaboration between the government, private sector, utilities, military, and academia. I know we are going to, in our state, try to continue the discussion at the University of Washington, Bothell, in a symposium on Energy Cybersecurity Workforce. Hopefully, this symposium will bring together critical partners to leverage knowledge, expertise, and experience."
“It’s clear to me that cyber solutions will require us to leverage the world-class expertise of our National Labs, the private sector, and all of us working together,” said Senator Cantwell. “That’s why I hope that Secretary Perry and the President will reverse their harmful 32% cut to the Department of Energy’s cybersecurity budget without further delay, and hopefully they will help us make the investments we need for the future.”
Watch Senator Cantwell’s opening statement here.
Witness testimony will be available online immediately before the start of each hearing at on committee website.