Energy Department creates new office for cyber, energy security

Energy Department creates new office for cyber, energy security
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The Energy Department (DOE) is creating a new office to "bolster" its cybersecurity and energy security efforts.

The new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response, announced Wednesday, would support the department's "expanded" national security responsibilities. The White House budget released Monday proposes $96 million for funding.

“DOE plays a vital role in protecting our nation’s energy infrastructure from cyber threats, physical attack and natural disaster, and as Secretary, I have no higher priority,” Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerrySenior Trump administration official to leave post next week Overnight Energy: Trump doesn't mention climate change in speech touting environmental policies | Green groups fight EPA's new FOIA rule | Trump emissions rollback hit with legal challenge Trump touts environmental policies, but says nothing of climate change MORE said in a statement. “This new office best positions the Department to address the emerging threats of tomorrow while protecting the reliable flow of energy to Americans today.”

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The department said the new office would allow better coordination and focus on protecting energy infrastructure, like the electric grid, from cyber and foreign attacks as well as natural threats such as hurricanes and snowstorms.

Overall, President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE is proposing a slight increase in the DOE’s budget for fiscal 2019 to $30.6 billion from the $30.1 billion in current funding.

However, the budget is merely a proposal. Congress has the final say on funding levels and would decide on the funding of the new office.

Cyber and storm threats are both concerns Perry and lawmakers have addressed in the past.

In January, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee considered how weather events like this winter's bomb cyclone might have impacted the nation's electric grid.