WASHINGTON – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn. and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Tuesday held a hearing entitled, “Cyber Security: Developing a National Strategy.”

At the hearing, Lieberman announced his intention to draft legislation strengthening the nation’s cyber security. Lieberman also expressed his support for the Department of Homeland Security’s role in protecting federal networks.

“We know our cyber infrastructure is insecure and our security capabilities are inadequate,” Lieberman said. “The Government Accountability Office and various Inspectors General have been repeatedly reporting on these weaknesses for years. Our enemies—whether they are individual hackers, foreign governments, business competitors, organized criminal groups, or terrorists—are one step ahead of our efforts to deter them. That gap must be closed.”

Collins said: “An effective response to cyber threats will require coordination among law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and the private owners of critical infrastructure. Bringing together these three worlds is the reason Congress created DHS following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. We need to determine what authorities are necessary for DHS to undertake the mission of better securing federal networks and our nation’s critical cyber infrastructure – authorities that must be exercised as the Department works with, but does not supplant, the important roles played by the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, federal law enforcement officials, and other agencies.”

Alan Paller, Director of Research at the SANS Institute, spoke of the importance of using the federal purchasing process to strengthen national cyber security.

“Only massive procurement power can persuade vendors to deliver safer systems rather than the standard systems they sell to businesses and consumers,” Paller said.

The Obama Administration recently completed a 60-day review of cyber security policy and structures. The report has yet to be publicly released. Also, Lieberman and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., will introduce legislation Thursday to address cyber vulnerabilities in the nation’s electric grid.

In addition to Paller, witnesses were: Stewart A. Baker, Former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security; James A. Lewis, Director and Senior Fellow, Technology and Public Policy Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Tom Kellermann, Vice President of Security Awareness, Core Security Technologies.