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Bill would require Pentagon to assess security risks to electric grid

Bill would require Pentagon to assess security risks to electric grid
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A bill introduced by a bipartisan group of House lawmakers this week would require the Pentagon to report to Congress on significant security risks to the U.S. electric grid and their impact on the U.S. military. 

The bill would require the Pentagon, in coordination with the Energy Department, Homeland Security Department and the director of national intelligence, to issue a report identifying “significant security risks” that malicious cyber actors pose to critical defense electric infrastructure, and the potential effect of those threats on the U.S. armed forces. 

The report would also have to assess the benefits and challenges of isolating U.S. military infrastructure from the electric grid. Finally, the Pentagon would be required to recommend measures to mitigate these security risks. 

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The legislation was introduced by Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and is cosponsored by Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.).

"I’m proud to work across the aisle to introduce this legislation that will help ensure America's military readiness by requiring top officials to identify and report any vulnerabilities that might jeopardize our core defense missions," said Rosen, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. 

“In this day and age, with adversaries around the globe developing their cyber capabilities, we must redouble our efforts to protect against these sorts of attacks,” Stefanik, who chairs the subcommittee with oversight of the Pentagon’s cyber capabilities, said in a statement. 

“This legislation will help Congress and our military gain a better understanding of the vulnerabilities and dependencies of these systems in order to better protect our homeland, and I encourage my colleagues to support this effort,” Stefanik said.

Lipinski emphasized that the bill will help guard the electric grid “from attacks by America’s enemies who are trying to take down our defenses” as well as harden the entire grid against cyberattacks that threaten to disrupt American lives and U.S. business operations.

Similar legislation has already been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Disney laying off 32,000 workers as coronavirus batters theme parks Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year MORE (D-Mass.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisNorth Carolina — still purple but up for grabs Team Trump offering 'fire hose' of conspiracy Kool-Aid for supporters Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection MORE (R-N.C.), both members of the Armed Services Committee.