U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced last week a bill to establish a Senate Select Committee on Cybersecurity that would focus exclusively on cybersecurity and cyberspace issues.
Currently, more than 20 committees claim jurisdiction over cybersecurity issues between the House and the Senate. Gardner and Coons said the new committee would be authorized to investigate issues within its jurisdiction, make recommendations, and report legislation.
“Cybersecurity policy is one of the most complex and significant challenges facing Congress, yet the Senate’s structure to investigate and address cyber issues is diffuse and inadequate,” Gardner said. “This has led to an uncoordinated policy response to recent cyber attacks on government agencies, businesses, and infrastructure. The establishment of a Select Committee on Cybersecurity is essential to investigating emerging cyber risks and bolstering our defenses against them through legislative solutions, and I’m hopeful that my colleagues recognize that a centralized structure is the best path forward to effectively tackle the cyber challenge.”
The committee would feature 21 members, which includes the chair and ranking members of the Appropriations Committee; Armed Services Committee; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; Foreign Relations; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Select Committee on Intelligence; and Judiciary Committee. Senate leadership would also appoint five members from the Senate at-large.
“By establishing the permanent Senate Select Committee on Cybersecurity, this bill will give Congress the tools to comprehensively investigate and respond to cyber intrusions, take proactive steps to protect against and respond to future attacks, and hold the executive branch accountable for its actions,” Coons said. “A challenge as complex as cybersecurity demands congressional responsibilities and authorities be as clear, direct, and nonpartisan as possible. This bill represents a significant step in that direction.”