Late last week, in a vote of 51-47, the Senate blocked consideration of Senator Lieberman’s cybersecurity legislation, voting down Sen. Liberman (I.-Conn.) and Sen. Collins (R.-Maine) procedural motion to move forward on the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. Among other components of the bill, the would have directed various federal agencies to address cybersecurity risks to conduct an assessment of cybersecurity risks to determine which sectors face the greatest immediate threat and establish procedures for the designation of critical infrastructure. Opponents argued that the bill would be cumbersome and costly. U.S. Dept of Defense Secretary Sen. Panetta expessed disappointment on the failure of the bill.
The failure of the Senate to move forward is juxtaposed against confirmation that, in mid-October, President Obama signed an Executive Directive that effectively enables the military to act more aggressively to prevent cyberattacks. The confidential directive updates a 2004 directive, and affirms the White House’s increased emphasis on cybersecurity. Given the Senate’s decision to move forward on the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 and the Administration’s interest in cybersecurity, there is speculation that we may see an Executive Order on cybersecurity in the near future.