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Federal Agencies Come Together to Enhance Cybersecurity in Energy Sector

CISA VDP platform, U.S. export ban on cybersecurity items

The U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DoE), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have agreed to jointly work on a new initiative “Energy Sector Pathfinder”, which is intended to protect the U.S. Energy Critical Infrastructure and bolster cybersecurity partnerships in the sector. The three federal departments recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to partner on the new initiative, which aims to improve training and education to understand cyber risks, advance information sharing, and develop joint operational preparedness and response activities to cybersecurity threats.

According to the official statement, the Pathfinder program is envisioned to address challenges facing the U.S. energy infrastructure in preventing and responding to the evolving cyberthreats. The new initiative also reinforces the partnership among the three departments to enable intergovernmental co-operation to proactively address cyberthreats to critical energy infrastructure.

Commenting on the new initiative, Kenneth Rapuano, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense, said, “The Energy Sector Pathfinder is a priority initiative for the Department of Defense.  This MOU enables us to work even closer with our Federal Government partners as well as our private sector partners.  We are committed to collaborating with our partners so that they can address the challenges facing America’s energy critical infrastructure, including constantly evolving cyber threats, so that DoD can more effectively defend against foreign threats.  This collaborative effort is complementary to the DoD Cyber Strategy objective to defend U.S. critical infrastructure from malicious foreign cyber activity.”

DoD and NSA’s Initiative Against Cyberthreats

Earlier, the DoD, along with its intelligence wing the National Security Agency (NSA), launched a new division to protect the country’s intelligence and critical digital assets against foreign cyberthreats. This initiative made NSA collaborate with key partners across the U.S. government like U.S. Cyber Command, Department of Homeland Security, and FBI. The new division integrated the agency’s foreign intelligence and cyber operations to enhance the country’s vulnerability assessments and cyber defense expertise.