Thursday, September 12, 2019

HR 4091 Introduced – ARPA-E Reauthorization

Last month Rep. Johnson (D,TX) introduced HR 4091, the ARPA–E Reauthorization Act of 2019. In addition to reauthorizing the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy, it expands the goals of ARPA-E to include security.

Security Goal

The bill would amend 42 USC 16538(c)(1)(A) by adding a new subparagraph (v):

(v) improve the resilience, reliability, and security of infrastructure to produce, deliver, and store energy; and

There is no other discussion of ‘security’ within the bill and no definitions are provided.

Moving Forward

Johnson is the Chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. There are 29 cosponsors to the bill; only two of those are Republicans and neither are on the Committee.

The bill was considered by the Energy Subcommittee yesterday and ordered reported favorably to the full Committee by a voice vote. One amendment was considered; a Republican amendment to reduce the amounts of monies authorized for Energy Transformation Acceleration Fund. The amendment failed on a voice vote.


It would make some sense to me that when adding a goal to an agency mission one should ensure that the purpose of that goal is clearly defined. With that in mind, I would like to propose the addition of the following definition to §16538:

Section 16538(a) is amended by adding subparagraph (4):
“(4) Security – The term ‘security’ means measures undertaken to prevent, identify or respond to:
(i) unauthorized physical access to facilities;
(ii) the unauthorized application of force against, or direction of energy at, a facility with the intent to disrupt operations of the facility; or
(iii) to protect against cybersecurity threats as that term is defined in 6 USC 1501.

This definition would make it clear that AREPA-E funded investigations could address the full range of security measure to protect energy product, storage or transmission facilities, including measures to prevent/mitigate cyberattacks and electromagnetic pulse attacks.

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