New Cybersecurity Programs to Protect US Energy

The United States is launching three new research programs to protect the security of America’s energy system. 

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER), which announced the new programs, said that they will help “to safeguard the US energy system from growing cyber and physical hazards.”

Potential vulnerabilities in the global supply chain will be addressed by the new schemes, which will also explore ways to shield critical infrastructure from geomagnetic and electromagnetic interference. 

Creating a research and talent pipeline for the next generation of cybersecurity professionals is another area that the freshly announced programs will be focused on. 

“Securing U.S. critical infrastructure, particularly in the energy sector, is one our most important and complex national security challenges,” said CESER Acting Assistant Secretary Patricia Hoffman. “Our vision with these programs is to bring together key partners—from industry to the states to universities—with the expertise and inventiveness needed to enhance energy sector resilience.”

Threats facing America’s critical energy infrastructure include digital hazards like cyber-attacks, and environmental dangers such as wildfires, extreme weather, and climate change, according to CESER. 

“Our energy system faces unprecedented threat levels from hackers, foreign actors, and natural catastrophes supercharged by climate change—which is why enhancing security is a priority for this administration,” said Jennifer M. Granholm, Secretary of Energy, in a government statement. 

“What’s more, President Biden’s clean energy goals all depend on resilient electrical infrastructure. These new programs will help put us a step ahead of all manner of threats so we can provide safe, reliable power to American households.”

News of the programs comes days after 21 states led by attorneys general from Texas and Montana sued President Joe Biden for cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline project that they argue would bolster US energy independence and security. 

The three research programs were welcomed by the chairman of the house energy and commerce committee, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr, who said that “foreign adversaries are taking new and aggressive tactics to compromise our critical infrastructure, including our electric grid.”

“We must increase our efforts to ensure our energy sector is prepared to mitigate any threat that poses a risk to Americans’ connectivity and access to power,” he added.

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