DHS Highlights Efforts to Strengthen Cybersecurity for the Nations Critical Infrastructure

Press Release

By:  Janet Napolitano
Date: Feb. 13, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Today, senior Administration officials provided an update on the Administration's Priorities for Cybersecurity Policy at the Department of Commerce. Yesterday, the President signed an Executive Order (EO) on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity and a Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience. These actions will strengthen the security and resilience of critical infrastructure against evolving threats through an updated and overarching national framework that acknowledges the increased role of cybersecurity in securing physical assets.

"DHS actively collaborates with public and private sector partners every day to help prevent and respond to attempted disruptions to the Nation's critical cyber and communications networks," said Secretary Napolitano. "These actions taken by the President are a key step towards improved security and resilience as we continue to work with Congress to keep our nation safe and secure for generations to come."

During today's event, Jane Holl Lute, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joined Rebecca Blank, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), Michael Daniel, Special Assistant to the President and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, General Keith Alexander, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service, James M. Cole, Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, and Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce, to provide an update on priorities for 2013, including efforts to share information and work collaboratively among federal agencies and with the private sector to reduce cybersecurity risks.

In support of the EO on Cybersecurity and PPD on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, the Departments of Homeland Security and Commerce have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to improve the synchronization and mutual support of their respective efforts to improve the nation's cybersecurity while protecting privacy and civil liberties.

Critical infrastructure -- both physical and cyber -- is the backbone of America's national security and economic prosperity. The Nation's critical infrastructure is diverse and complex. It includes distributed networks, varied organizational structures and operating models (including multi-national ownership), interdependent functions and systems in both physical space and cyberspace, and governance constructs that involve multi-level authorities, responsibilities, and regulations. Critical infrastructure faces a variety of risks to its security and ability to function, including manmade acts of terror, extreme weather events, other natural disasters and cyber attacks.