Monday, October 28, 2013

Witness List for Cybersecurity Emergency Response Hearing

This morning the House Homeland Security Committee updated their web site to include a witness list for Wednesday’s hearing on cybersecurity and emergency response. The witnesses include:

• Mr. Charliey English: for the National Emergency Management Association;
• Mr. Paul Molitor: the National Electrical Manufacturers Association;
• Mr. Craig Orgeron: for the National Association of State Chief Information Officers;
• Mr. Mike Sena: for the National Fusion Center Association; and
• Ms. Roberta Stempfley, DHS 

It would have been a tad bit more interesting if there was a chemical industry representative or a water facility cybersecurity manager responsible for a control system that managed the movement of chlorine gas. Then there could have been a real discussion of the emergency response requirements for a real cyber-attack.

Don’t get me wrong, a grid attack could have catastrophic consequences, but the electrical industry has a long history of responding to outages due to physical damage caused by storms, fires and earthquakes. There will be differences for a cyber-attack, but they have the interagency and inter-organizational communications procedures down pretty good at this point. No one in this country has responded to a large scale chemical release and the limited scale planning necessary to do so has never had a real test.

Oh well, it is to be expected. Congress has a long history of failing to prepare for, or even look at, the next emergency.

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