On July 7, 2011, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing entitled “Cyber Security: Assessing the Immediate Threat to the United States”—the first in a series of hearings designed to examine threats to the U.S. digital infrastructure. Witnesses included, the Department of Homeland Security Acting Deputy Undersecretary Greg Schaffer, the Associate Deputy Attorney General James Baker, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense for Cyber Policy Robert Butler, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Senior Internet Policy Advisor Ari Schwartz.
The hearing addressed the ability of the U.S. digital infrastructure to withstand cyber attacks, such as attacks against federal agency databases; discussed the Obama administration’s plan to increase digital defenses; and debated how to coordinate government efforts to improve digital infrastructure with private industry efforts. Lawmakers have acknowledged that, given that 85 percent of the nation’s infrastructure is owned by the private sector, private-public sector partnerships are critical to improving information security. Some entities, however, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have expressed concern that plans to create baseline security practices are disguised attempts to impose sweeping new security regulations on private networks.
More information regarding the Oversight Committee’s hearing can be found here.