Following the recent ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline Company, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., proposed a bill last week that would require the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to establish a National Cyber Exercise Program to test the United States’ cyber readiness.

The CISA Cyber Exercise Act would test U.S. response plans for major cyber incidents, and also would direct the agency ”to include a set of model exercises – which could be readily used by state and local governments and private sector businesses to test the safety and security of their own critical infrastructure,” according to a press release. CISA would also be required to assist those entities to implement cyber exercises.

“Cyberattacks like the ones launched against the Colonial Pipeline have the potential to devastate our economy and our way of life. Even if the intent behind an attack is only to steal money or hold data for ransom, the broader consequences can be enormous for our national and economic security, as we’ve seen from public panic and subsequent gas shortages in a number of states on the East Coast,” Rep. Slotkin said.

“Cybersecurity is no longer just a ‘tech’ issue – it’s at the very heart of protecting the systems that power our daily lives as Americans,” she added. “We have to make sure the Federal government is working hand-in-glove with state and local authorities and private industry to deter these attacks and minimize their impact. This bill can be a step in ramping up that coordination, ensuring that our government is preparing for the full range of cyber threats, and providing our communities and businesses the tools they need to be secure and resilient.”

The bill builds on a provision Rep. Slotkin introduced last year, which created “a biannual national cyber exercise to test the resilience, response, and recovery of U.S. critical infrastructure, which was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021,” according to the release.

Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Jim Langevin, D-R.I., and Andrew Garbarino, R-N.Y., joined Slotkin in co-sponsoring the new legislation.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk SLG Staff Reporter, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs
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