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Obama’s Call for Public-Private Cyber Security Collaboration Reflected in DOE’s Priorities

May 29, 2009 - 4:08pm

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In releasing the results of his Administration’s 60-day cyber security review, President Barack Obama today emphasized that partnering with the private sector will be paramount for agencies working to secure the power grid and other critical infrastructures from cyber attack.

Securing the computer-based systems that monitor and control the nation’s electric grid and oil and gas pipelines remains a shared challenge for the Department of Energy. As the industry quickly works to develop and demonstrate Smart Grid technologies to build a more reliable and resilient grid, spurred by the almost $4 billion investment in Recovery Act funding for Smart Grid deployments, we and our partners recognize that cyber security must be the cornerstone of smarter networks and technologies.

The Department has requested $50 million in FY 2010 for research, development, and testing to address the cyber security requirements of the Smart Grid, accelerate the development of cyber security standards, and enhance cyber security across the nation’s energy delivery systems by reducing cyber vulnerabilities.

The Department of Energy has already seen the benefits of working with the private sector to tackle the energy infrastructure’s most pressing security issues. In 2005, the Department partnered with energy companies, equipment vendors, and government agencies to create a Control Systems Roadmap to secure the sector’s computer control systems against cyber attack. As a result of that effort, the Department of Energy has worked with vendors to test the majority of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems currently being offered in the electric sector for cyber vulnerabilities—and we now have commercial systems in place that are more secure and reliable than the ones available three years ago.

The Department has also helped to form a 13-member working group of public- and private-sector cyber security experts who are currently working to increase collaborative efforts in the energy sector. The working group manages an online project database to help the energy industry better collaborate while tracking its progress. The Department has provided nearly $8 million to cost-share five industry-led projects—part of the more than 60 tracked projects that are already delivering technologies to rapidly secure the nation's energy delivery systems.

The Energy Control Systems Roadmap and the resulting partnership efforts have laid the groundwork for future collaboration. Delivering a more reliable, secure, and resilient power infrastructure in the face of new technologies and growing cyber threats will be a monumental undertaking. The Department recognizes that continued public-private partnership leverages the best minds and resources to address the nation’s most challenging cyber security concerns.

For more information, view the Department of Energy’s Control Systems Security program.

View the Roadmap to Secure Control Systems in the Energy Sector and the collaborative online project database.

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Media contact(s):
Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability
(202) 586-4940

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