Senate approved a bill that would require the Energy Department to launch a program aiming to use analog, non-digital and physical systems to protect U.S. electric power grids from cyber attacks, Nextgov recently reported. The Securing Energy Infrastructure Act would provide $10M for a two-year pilot program led by Energy’s national laboratories and backed by the agency’s industry partners.
The bill also includes establishing a new federal working group to assess the recommendations from the program. The group would include representatives from the departments of Energy, Homeland Security and Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. The Senate agreed to provide $1.5M to fund the working group.
Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, introduced the bill in 2017.
“For years we’ve seen the danger of cyber attacks grow as bad actors pursue larger and more sophisticated incursions on our vital systems, but the federal government’s response has not matched the severity of these threats,” King said. “This commonsense, bipartisan bill is an important step in the right direction, and will help protect America’s critical infrastructure from devastating attacks before they happen,” he added.
The House has yet to vote on a similar bill introduced in the past year.