“To secure our country from cyber attacks, we must have shared responsibility between the government and the private sector,” he said.
Referring to former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell’s testimony earlier this year about how unprepared the United States is in case of a cyberwar, Rockefeller said action needs to happen now. He remarked that neither the government nor the private sector can act on their own.
“We will only succeed together,” he said. “But in order to do so, our efforts require an altogether new way of thinking about national security, where information and innovation are the key defenses.”
Together with Sen. Olympia Snowe, Rockefeller said he is trying to build a new 21st century model that will secure the country and its businesses. Speaking about the cybersecurity act he and Snowe introduced last year to address the nation’s vulnerability to cyber crime, global cyber espionage and cyber attacks, Rockefeller detailed the steps to take to modernize the relationship between the government and the private sector to meet the challenges of cybersecurity.
The bill calls for appointing a Senate-confirmed national cybersecurity adviser who will answer directly to the president, coordinate the government’s cybersecurity efforts, and collaborate with the private sector. The bill also provides for information-sharing between the private sector and the government regarding threats and vulnerabilities, including access to classified threat information for cleared private sector executives.
The bill also creates a “dynamic cycle of market-driven innovation in professional training and cybersecurity products and services,” Rockefeller said. Companies that excel will be recognized for their excellence, and companies that fall short will implement a remediation plan driven by the market and facilitated by the government.
In closing, Rockefeller said there is too much at state to pretend that current outdated cybersecurity policies are up to the task of protecting the nation and the economy.
“Our system must improve,” Rockefeller said. “Our security, both national and economic, depends on it. We cannot wait for a crisis to occur. If we were to drag our feet and God forbid, a terrible disaster took place, I fear the public’s impulse and the government’s response might be to impose tough, unbending solutions. We can do far better by acting now, and by acting together.”