I've got a piece in today's Phoenix on the daunting challenge of cybersecurity. Experts say our power grid, financial systems, and telecommunications are vulnerable to hackers. And erecting a comprehensive defense is a near impossibility: intruders need find only one weak point to break in and do damage.
The local angle is Congressman Jim Langevin's heavy involvement in the issue. He was able to win passage in the House, this year, of a cybersecurity amendment to a larger defense bill. The amendment would, among other things, strengthen the hand of the president's cybersecurity czar by giving him budget authority over large swaths of the federal government vulnerable to attack.
Langevin tells me that he's not sure the amendment will clear the Senate, where lawmakers may pass on the measure and focus on plans for a more comprehensive cybersecurity bill. The Congressman says he's all for a broader bill, but has doubts about whether it can pass in a Senate hamstrung by the threat of GOP filibusters. It's a reasonable concern, although defense matters tend to enjoy broader bi-partisan support than more ideologically charged issues.
Langevin says he will press, in conference committee, for Senate passage of his bill as a step in the right direction.