NOVI, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, participated in a fireside chat during this year’s annual Michigan Cyber Summit with the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Jen Easterly. The conversation, which was moderated by the State of Michigan’s Chief Information Officer Laura Clark, discussed collaboration between the federal government and state and local governments to combat evolving cybersecurity threats. Peters also discussed the devastating impact that cyber-attacks can have on our daily lives – including by shutting down essential services and compromising Americans’ sensitive data. The fireside chat also highlighted Peters’ and Director Easterly’s historic efforts to significantly enhance our nation’s ability to combat ongoing cybersecurity threats.
“Our nation continues to face significant cybersecurity threats, and today’s discussion with Director Easterly and CIO Clark was an important opportunity to highlight the need for a comprehensive strategy to strengthen our online defenses. While Michigan continues to be a leader in these efforts, it’s clear that the state and local governments, as well as other organizations across our state need more help from the federal government to protect important networks,” said Senator Peters. “That is why I have worked to ensure CISA has more tools and resources to assist state and local governments, critical infrastructure, and K-12 schools who are working to safeguard against cyber-attacks that can shut down essential services and compromise sensitive information. I have been proud to lead some of the most significant reforms to our cybersecurity in our nation’s history, and look forward to working with champions like Director Easterly and Laura Clark to fight back against foreign adversaries and cybercriminals that continue targeting American networks.”
“My thanks to Senator Peters and Laura Clark for a wonderful discussion today at the Michigan Cyber Summit,” said Director Easterly. “As the Nation’s Cyber Defense Agency, CISA’s ability to drive down risk to the critical infrastructure Americans rely on every day is dependent on collaborative partnerships. I’m grateful for the work Senator Peters and Laura Clark are doing to strengthen our collective efforts to increase the nation’s cybersecurity.”
“It was an honor to welcome Sen. Peters and Director Easterly to the Michigan Cyber Summit and provide insights into cybersecurity from a national perspective,” said Laura Clark. “The action they have taken to provide guidance and resources has been critical in our fight against cybercriminals. Collaboration has proven to be the most effective measure to stay ahead cybercriminals and our relationships with our federal partners are key in keeping Michiganders safe online.”
The fireside chat also highlighted landmark laws and legislation authored by Peters to bolster our nation’s online defenses. Peters’ historic, bipartisan provision to require critical infrastructure owners and operators to report to CISA if they experience a substantial cyber-attack or if they make a ransomware payment was signed into law. Peters’ bipartisan bill to enhance cybersecurity assistance to K-12 educational institutions across the country was also signed into law. Additionally, Peters secured several provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure law to bolster cybersecurity – including $100 million in funding to help victims of a serious breach recover quickly. Peters’ bipartisan bills to bolster cybersecurity for state and local governments, strengthen the federal cybersecurity workforce, and help secure federal information technology supply chains have been signed into law.
Following the fireside chat, Peters and Easterly also joined high school students from across Michigan who were taking part in the Michigan Governor’s High School Cyber Challenge. The competition highlighted how Michigan is working to build a pipeline of future cybersecurity professionals that are qualified to defend networks from threats for years to come.