The Subcommittee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), held a hearing today with newly Senate-confirmed Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESER) Karen Evans.
“I’d like to learn today what other pieces are necessary to ensure the new Office can fully carry out DOE’s responsibilities. One important area concerns the Department’s role as a sector specific agency for energy-related emergencies, including cyber security threats to our energy systems,” said #SubEnergy Chairman Upton.
“The reliable supply and delivery of energy is vital to our nation’s economy, national security, and the public health and welfare of its citizens. With energy systems now massively digitized and interconnected, new threats and vulnerabilities have emerged. It’s a whole of government effort, but DOE, in particular, must be vigilant and prepared when it comes to ensuring energy access and delivery through cyber threats, physical threats, and emergency situations,” said Full Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR).
- The Honorable Karen Evans, Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, Department of Energy (Opening Statement)
#SubEnergy Chairman Upton asked Assistant Secretary Evans about the effectiveness of CESER’s response to the recent Hurricane Florence. She replied, “I know that the lessons learned were done from Puerto Rico and I’ve seen how they’ve actually applied those lessons through this response and we’ve heard those lessons being actually implemented by both industry and government as we were going through the response this go around.”
#SubDCCP Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) asked what makes DOE equipped to serve as the lead sector-specific agency for cybersecurity for the energy sector. Assistant Secretary Evans replied, “It’s the expertise of the Department as a whole, as well as the ability to leverage the knowledge that’s out at the national labs. And so, those are some of the smartest people in the world and they work on multiple problem sets as they relate to the energy sector. They’re always thinking about what’s over the horizon, what’s next, and also trying to fix what’s happening today. I believe the way that the Secretary’s priorities are set up, the experience that is there at DOE, and leveraging what is happening at the national labs – that is why you trust us to be the sector specific agency in this area and that’s why we’re providing that leadership.”
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) raised concerns about the recruitment and retention of the cyber workforce. He said, “Talking with the private sector, their challenges in the energy industry with cyber – they’ve been appreciative of the relationship that’s developed because of what we’ve done here having public-private sharing back and forth together, but to keep the good people trained and to stay in the public sector is so important.”
The Majority Memorandum, witness testimony, and an archived webcast are available online HERE.
For more information on the committee’s ‘DOE Modernization’ series, click HERE.