Proposed Legislation Calls for Leader of DOE Cybersecurity Office to be Senate-Approved
Sen. John Barrasso, the ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, recently led the introduction of a bill mandating the appointment of an assistant secretary to lead the Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response.
According to Sen. Susan Collins, one of the legislation’s sponsors, requiring Senate approval for the CESER position would enable stronger protections over critical infrastructure and center agency efforts on keeping sensitive data safe and addressing hacker threats.
The Senate previously had oversight over the role until Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm changed CESER to a directorate to avoid having a political appointee in charge. She contended that the office is meant to be a nonpartisan entity focused on emergency response.
Granholm’s decision has been met with criticism from government and industry officials. Sean Plankey, director of cyber missions at DataRobot and a former principal deputy at CESER, said political appointees have a higher standing within the government, helping to ensure inclusion at meetings and availability of resources.
Puesh Kumar currently heads CESER in a directorial position. In a March 23 Senate hearing, Kumar testified that he is able to access the necessary resources to accomplish goals, The Record reported Friday.
Tags: CESER Congress cybersecurity Department of Energy Jennifer Granholm John Barrasso The Record