The leaders of a key Senate committee are pressing federal department heads for reports on their international cybersecurity priorities mandated by an executive order signed by President Trump in May.
Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote to the State Department, Pentagon and other agencies this week looking for their respective reports related to international cyber cooperation, which were due to the White House on June 23.
The committee leaders signaled that the reports would factor into their oversight of federal agencies’ cybersecurity efforts.
“Cyberattacks are a real and growing threat,” Johnson said in a statement. “Obtaining these reports will be helpful as the committee continues its oversight to improve America’s national and cyber security.”
The executive order, which Trump signed on May 11 after much speculation as to its contents, required the secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, Commerce, and Homeland Security to produce reports on their “international cybersecurity priorities, including those concerning investigation, attribution, cyber threat information sharing, response, capacity building, and cooperation.”
Additionally, the State Department is required to submit a subsequent report that spells out “an engagement strategy for international cooperation in cybersecurity” 90 days after turning in the first document.
McCaskill and Johnson have asked the five department heads for their respective reports, according to letters they released Wednesday.
“We’re in a new era where cyberattacks from our enemies could devastate our country in ways ranging from hacking government computers to access our nation’s secrets to shutting down our electrical systems,” McCaskill said.
“I was glad to see President Trump’s Executive Order to strengthen our country’s cybersecurity, and I look forward to hearing from key agencies about their plans to work with our international partners to protect against and respond to cyberattacks,” she said.
The executive order was well received by members of both parties, though Democrats have warned that proposed budget cuts could hamper cybersecurity efforts at specific agencies.
Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Capitol Hill on Sept. 5, faced with the challenge of passing a budget in time for the new fiscal year.