President Trump Signs Cybersecurity Executive Order

President Trump signed an executive order yesterday entitled, “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.” The order is the administration’s first major action on the issue. The President pledged during the campaign to begin a, “long and overdue national discussion on how to protect ourselves from modern cybercrime and evolving national security threats and how to develop the cyber offense strategies necessary to gain a critical security edge in the 21st century.”

The order places responsibility for cybersecurity on departmental secretaries or agency directors and requires each agency to adopt the digital defense standards in the cyber framework developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Each agency head is also ordered to “provide a risk management report to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within 90 days of the date of this order.”

“I think the trend is going in the wrong direction in cyberspace, and it’s time to stop that trend and reverse it on behalf of the American people,” said White House Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert. “We’ve seen increasing attacks from allies, adversaries, primarily nation states, but also non-nation state actors, and sitting by and doing nothing is no longer an option.”

The order also calls on the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, to assess the potential for a “prolonged power outage associated with a significant cyber incident” and “the readiness of the United States to manage the consequences of such an incident.”

Edison Electric Institute welcomed the executive order.  “EEI and its member companies appreciate President Trump making cybersecurity for critical infrastructure a top priority, and we look forward to working with the Administration to ensure that industry and government continue to work closely together to protect the energy grid,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn in a statement.

CSG will continue to monitor developments in this area and work with its members to ensure state views and expertise are taken into account as new policies are developed and implemented.