On Wednesday, November 14, the Senate voted 51-47 against moving the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S.3414) as proposed by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT – retiring). The bill was intended to create an intra-agency council to work with private companies to develop cybersecurity standards that businesses could voluntarily adopt. The bill also would have offered incentives to companies that volunteer for cybersecurity programs, including protection from lawsuits related to cyber incidents and increased help and information on cybersecurity issues from U.S. agencies. The Administration is considering an executive order to carry out elements of this bill. In mid-October, President Obama signed Policy Directive 20, which establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace and specifically authorizes the military to help address cyber attacks on the nation. NASEO encourages the states to consider cyber security as part of their state energy assurance plans: .
In related news on November 13, 2012, NASEO sponsored a webinar with the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Energy Assurance work for states to learn more about the various cybersecurity initiatives it has underway to help secure the power grid from a cyber-attack. While this will require sustained commitment to cyber security in the long run there is much work underway to reduce the risk and vulnerabilities of a cyber-attack by developing both hardware and software that can reduce the threat and if system are compromised allow for a more rapid return to normal conditions. To view these presentations go to: U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Sector Cybersecurity Overview and Working Together to Achieve the Energy Sector's Roadmap Vision.