Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Committee Hearings – Week of 05-14-17

With both the House and Senate in Washington this week there are a number of hearings scheduled. Three of those hearings may be of specific interest to readers of this blog. The relate to updating the Emergency Alert System (EAS), a hearing on emerging transportation technologies, and markup of a Coast Guard authorization bill.


On Wednesday the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing to look at the “Future of Emergency Alerting”. A witness list is not currently available. The staff memo on the topic does not mention potential cybersecurity concerns; a surprising omission given the recent EAS fiasco in Dallas, TX.

Transportation Technologies

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will be holding a hearing on “Emerging Transportation Technologies”. The witness list includes:

• Nidhi Kalra, RAND Corporation;
• Mykel Kochenderfer, Stanford University Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
• David Strickland, Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets and
• Brian Wynne, Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International

There is a distinct possibility that cybersecurity issues may be briefly and lightly discussed.

CG Authorization

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will hold a markup hearing on Thursday. A number of bills are on the agenda including an as of yet unintroduced bill for the FY 2018 authorization for the Coast Guard. No copies of the bill are currently available on the Committee web site. It will be interesting to see if chemical transportation safety or security, or cybersecurity receive a mention in this bill.

On the Floor

The only thing of potential interest on the floor of the House this week is the consideration of HR 1616, Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act of 2017. I have not covered this bill because it includes no mention or coverage of control system security issues. It is being considered under the suspension of rules process, so there will be limited debate and no amendments. The leadership expects this bill to pass with substantial bipartisan support.

I will be very surprised if we do not hear at least some mention of  WannaCry in the debate on this bill.

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