Washington — Sen. Ron Johnson chaired the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s (HSGAC) first hearing of the 114th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 28. The hearing was a first step toward crafting a bill to improve the nation’s cybersecurity.
Senators heard from experts in the private sector on the importance of information sharing in protecting America from cyberattacks. The testimony focused on information sharing with appropriate liability protections and a national data breach notification policy as important actions Congress could take to improve cybersecurity. The experts included Marc D. Gordon of American Express, Scott Charney of Microsoft Corp., Peter J. Beshar of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., Richard Bejtlich of FireEye, and Greg Nojeim of the Center for Democracy & Technology.
“One of our missions for this Congress is to address the cybersecurity threat. The first step in addressing any problem is defining it,” said Senator Johnson in a written opening statement. He said the purpose of the hearing is “to develop an understanding of the reality of the cybersecurity threat—the frequency and complexity of the cyberattacks U.S. businesses endure every day, what businesses can do to better defend themselves, and what businesses need from the federal government.”
Senator Johnson refrained from delivering an oral opening statement to allow more time to hear from witnesses and for members to ask questions, after a series of votes was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
His questions centered on what the witnesses believed to be obstacles to cybersecurity information sharing and to passing recent cybersecurity reform bills. “What are the poison pills in some of these bills?” he asked. “What do we need to be worried about? What do we need to work on?”