Monday, March 11, 2019

Committee Hearings – Week of 03-10-19

With both the House and Senate in session, this week starts the budget hearing process. There will also be a second CFATS hearing, a markup hearing and two cybersecurity hearings.

CFATS Hearing

On Tuesday the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on “Securing Our Nation's Chemical Facilities: Stakeholders Perspectives on Improving the CFATS Program”. The witness list includes:

• Randy E. Manner, Manner Analytics, LLC;
• John Morawetz, International Chemical Workers Union Council;
• Mike Wilson, BlueGreen Alliance;
• Pamela Nixon, People Concerned About Chemical Safety;
Kirsten Meskill, BASF

People who have gotten used to see a panel of industry representatives supporting the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Security (CFATS) program will be in for a surprise. While I expect that there may be general support for the CFATS program on this panel, there will be lots of issues raised that we have not heard about in detail since the last time the Democrats were in the majority in the House.

Manner is going to be the witness to watch. This retired Army general does not have a strong connection that I can find to any of the chemical-safety advocacy groups we expect to hear from. Rather, he does have a specific interest in the management of cybersecurity (see a recent article here) and training.

Mark-up Hearing

On Wednesday the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a markup hearing looking at seven bills. Of specific interest here will be the markup of HR 1589, the CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2019. An official version of the bill has not yet been printed, but the Committee hearing page provides a link to a draft version of the bill which will be marked up. A quick look at the draft confirms that it is very similar to HR 677 that was passed in the House in last session. I do not expect much in the way of amendments to this bill.

Cybersecurity Hearings

On Tuesday the Senate Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on “An Existential Threat to Small Business”. The witness list includes:

• Charles Romine, NIST;
• Maria Roat, Small Business Administration;
• Karen A. Harper, Charles River Analytics, Inc.;
• Elizabeth Hyman, CompTIA; and
• Stacey Smith, Cyber Association of Maryland, Inc.

I do not see any indications that this hearing will specifically address control system security issues, but you can never tell.

On Wednesday, the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee will be holding a hearing on Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request for U.S. Cyber Command and Operations in Cyberspace. The witness list includes:

• Kenneth P. Rapuano, DOD;
• Paul M. Nakasone, NSA

This will be a high-level look at cybersecurity budgeting. I do not expect much in the way of policy specifics and there is little chance that control system security will receive specific mention.

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