Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., have introduced new legislation that would ensure sharing of cybersecurity information between operational cyber staff in the Executive Branch and the members of the Senate and House.

The Intragovernmental Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act aims to ensure that Senate and House administrative officials receive “direct, timely, and actionable cybersecurity information” from the Executive Branch. Achieving that goal, the bill’s sponsors said, will make sure that members of Congress are able to work collaboratively and directly with cybersecurity officials in the Executive Branch.

The sponsors complained that the proper flow of information has been lacking in the past.

“Cybersecurity threats against our government require a timely, coordinated response. Yet too often a lack of communication between the Department of Homeland Security and Congress leaves us vulnerable to damaging cyberattacks,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation will better protect us against cyberattacks by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to increase cybersecurity information sharing with Congress.”

“As we have recently seen, cyberattacks are increasing against our critical infrastructure as well as the federal government. Unfortunately, some of the cybersecurity professionals in Congress have faced lengthy delays in getting information on cybersecurity threats from the Executive Branch. That should not be the case,” Sen. Portman said in a press release. “Our cyber adversaries move quickly and do not distinguish between branches of government – we need a unified and coordinated defense.”

The bill would also require regular reporting to Congress on progress about the legislation’s implementation.

Sen. Portman in particular has talked about the need for better communication and information sharing between government entities about cybersecurity issues. He backed the recently enacted bipartisan Cyber Incident Reporting Act. The law, according to Portman, “will help prevent future cyberattacks by facilitating increased information sharing and enhance the federal government’s cyber defense and investigative capabilities.”

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.