Lee Zeichner on Presidential Action on Cybersecurity: 2013 Executive Order and Presidential Policy Directive

Lee Zeichner on Presidential Action on Cybersecurity: 2013 Executive Order and Presidential Policy Directive

On February 12, 2013, President Obama signed the Executive Order: Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity designed to strengthen the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure. This Order expands information sharing with critical infrastructure owners and operators and establishes a process for developing and implementing a framework of cybersecurity standards.

Excerpt:

Background

Protecting the Nation's critical infrastructure (CI) is essential for sustaining our security, economic vitality, and way of life. Since CI provides the essential services that underpin daily life, an attack on a CI company or key resource could undermine the long-term viability, profitability, and reputation of U.S. companies and the security of sensitive government information and networks. A spike of unprecedented cyber-attacks against the Nation's critical infrastructure and public networks elevated the issue of cybersecurity on the Federal Government's policy agenda. This renewed focus on protecting our Nation's critical infrastructure from both cyber and physical threats is evident in the President's cybersecurity Executive Order and Presidential Policy Directive.

The Administration's cybersecurity policy push is a product of the impasse in Congress. Passing comprehensive legislation has proved difficult due to competing perspectives. During the 112th Congress, the House was successful in passing the information sharing focused, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, but the Senate was not as successful. Broad-based cybersecurity regulation almost reached reality in Summer 2012 when Senate Democrats attempted to pass The Cybersecurity Act of 2012. When the Senate defeated The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, the Administration reexamined the Executive Order (EO) option to direct agencies to improve information sharing and require cybersecurity standards across critical infrastructure.

Executive Action

On February 12, 2013, President Obama signed the Executive Order: Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity designed to strengthen the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure. This Order expands information sharing with critical infrastructure owners and operators and establishes a process for developing and implementing a framework of cybersecurity standards.

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