Congressman Lamar Smith

Representing the 21st District of Texas
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Trump’s order to strengthen federal cybersecurity seen by House leaders as key to protecting nation

May 15, 2017
In The News

U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Fred Upton (R-MI) voiced support for an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Thursday to fortify the federal government’s computer security networks and bolster national defenses.

Under the executive order, agency heads will have 90 days to review cybersecurity capabilities, they will be “accountable for managing cybersecurity risk to their enterprises,” and they will be required to adopt the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity drafted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Blackburn, the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Upton, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy, and Smith, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, lauded the order as a key step in shoring up economic and national security.

“Given the importance cybersecurity plays in our daily lives, our economic well being, and its integral role in our nation’s infrastructure, we have to ensure that all federal agencies are adequately prepared and actively working to mitigate the actions of malicious actors across the country and around the globe,” Blackburn and Upton said in a joint statement. “We welcome this review and are looking forward to working with the administration to fortify the nation’s cyber infrastructure.”

Smith noted that cybersecurity is critical to national security, and that Trump’s order signals that he is taking the matter seriously.

“This executive order gives federal agencies the right direction, goals and priorities to keep America safe,” Smith said. “Requiring federal agencies to use the NIST Framework will help ensure cyber readiness across the government.”

Smith noted that his committee previously advanced legislation, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment and Auditing Act, H.R. 1224, that would help implement the executive order. The measure would require NIST to assist agencies in adopting the framework, assessing preparedness and evaluating effectiveness.

“I’m also pleased to see cyber-workforce development underscored in the executive order,” Smith said.

“To effectively manage cybersecurity, we need a talented and qualified workforce to protect our information and networks. Cyber-attacks are a growing threat to our country, to our economy, and to individuals’ privacy,” Smith added.

Trump’s executive order also said the government would prioritize more collaborative public-private partnerships in threat assessment, detection, protection and mitigation when it comes to protecting the nation’s infrastructure.

And the federal government will work to strengthen its deterrence posture as a nation and forge international coalitions to fight back against cyberattacks across the globe, the order said.