WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) subcommittee that oversees emerging threats, voted to advance top cybersecurity officials nominated by President Biden.
“Cyberattacks pose a serious threat to our national security, economy, and way of life, as was illustrated by the Microsoft Exchange, SolarWinds, and Colonial Pipeline cyberattacks,” said Senator Hassan. ”These cyber experts have the necessary experience to address the evolving cyber landscape, and I am pleased to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance their nominations to the full Senate. As chair of the Emerging Threats Subcommittee, I will continue working to combat cyberattacks and bolster our cyber resiliency.”
Senator Hassan voted to advance Jen Easterly as Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Chris Inglis as the National Cyber Director, and Robin Carnahan as Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA). The nominees will now need to be voted on by the full Senate before they are confirmed.
Senator Hassan is working on a bipartisan basis to strengthen federal, state, and local cybersecurity. The latest National Defense Authorization Act, which is now law, included a bipartisan amendment that Senator Hassan introduced to create a cybersecurity state coordinator in each state. Recently, Senator Hassan pressed top administration officials on the need to strengthen cybersecurity across all levels of government and the private sector following the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange breaches. Furthermore, in an effort to bolster cybersecurity within the federal government, Senators Hassan and Rob Portman (R-OH) passed into law the bipartisan Hack DHS Act, which establishes a bug bounty pilot program – modeled off of similar programs at the Department of Defense and major tech companies – that uses vetted “white-hat” or ethical hackers to help identify unique and undiscovered vulnerabilities in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) networks and information technology. The Senators also passed into law their bipartisan Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act, which complements the Hack DHS Act by requiring DHS to establish a cyber-vulnerability disclosure program so that vulnerabilities in DHS’ cyber systems can be easily reported and fixed. Senators Hassan and Portman also worked together to pass into law their bipartisan Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act, which requires that the Department of Homeland Security make permanent its “cyber hunt and incident response teams” which work to help respond to cyberattacks at all levels of government and the private sector, and help mitigate the impact of such attacks when they occur.