A pair of Republican and Democratic legislators on Tuesday introduced a bill aimed at refining which critical infrastructure in the U.S. is most systemically important and requires stronger partnerships with the federal government to mitigate potential debilitating impacts to the economy if compromised by a cyber-attack.
The Securing Systemically Important Critical Infrastructure (SICI) Act, introduced by Reps. John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), would direct the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to establish an open process, driven by stakeholders, to designate SICI.
The bill would also provide CISA with guidance on establishing criteria for SICI and would require the agency to give owners and operators of the most critical infrastructures access to prioritized cybersecurity services such as technical assistance, programs used to continuously monitor and detect cybersecurity risks, prioritized representation on the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative, and priority for security clearances.
“To mitigate risks to our economic and national security going forward, we need a clear process for identifying which infrastructure constitutes systemically important critical infrastructure,” Katko, who is the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement. “Disruption to this infrastructure, ranging from pipelines to software, could have an outsized impact on our homeland security. The owners and operators of SICI naturally demand deeper cyber risk management integration with the federal government.”
In the senate, Angus King (I-Maine) lauded the new bill. King, a co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission said a “systematic approach” to protecting critical infrastructure is needed.
“The passage of a law codifying systemically important critical infrastructure in law and establishing a methodology for identifying SICI is a critical first step in reimagining the social contract between the federal government and our most important economic, national security, and societal assets,” King said in a statement.