U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) led a joint hearing of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications and the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity Infrastructure Protection and Security on Tuesday regarding potential cyber threats.
“Our legacy response doctrine – from the National Response Framework to the Stafford Act – are rooted in an era that predates reliance on cyber networks and growing threats posed by sophisticated hackers,” Payne said. “Despite our best efforts to ensure that our national preparedness doctrine is responsive to evolving threats, it has not kept pace with cyber threats. My district is rich with critical infrastructure, all of which rely on cyber networks. Within two miles, we have major transit systems, chemical facilities, and refineries mixed among homes, schools, and hospitals. A hack of any one of these targets could have devastating cascading effects and could risk overwhelming our brave first responders.”
Payne applauded efforts by states like California and New Jersey that established state-level cyber information sharing centers modeled after the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center. He said that it was troubling, however, that many states lacked confidence in their cybersecurity capabilities in the National Preparedness Report, with few investing Homeland Security Grant funds to address the capability gap.
The hearing is part of an ongoing discussion in Congress on how to best prepare critical infrastructure from future cyber attacks.