Portman questions witnesses on election, cybersecurity


WASHINGTON D.C. — On Dec. 16, at a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) questioned witnesses about election security and the cybersecurity threats facing the country.

Portman has led efforts to address state and local cybersecurity threats and has worked to combat cyberattacks and ensure elections are free, fair, and secure from foreign interference. Last week, Portman announced that the Senate-passed FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report included his bipartisan provision to require the Department of Homeland Security to establish a Cybersecurity State Coordinator position in every state. In 2018, Senator Portman’s bipartisan Hack Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Act and Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act were included in a package of bills that were signed into law.

In addition, earlier this year, Senators Portman and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the bipartisan Risk-Informed Spending for Cybersecurity (RISC) Act to require the federal government to make better investments in cybersecurity protections to keep Americans’ data safe. The legislation would require federal agencies to efficiently allocate limited cybersecurity resources to acquire capabilities that address the most pressing cyber threats.

In addition, earlier this month, the senators introduced a bipartisan bill that would increase transparency and modernize how the government responds to cybersecurity incidents on federal information systems. Federal System Incident Response Act will update and add critical new sections to FISMA, increasing transparency by clarifying how and when agencies must notify impacted individuals and Congress when data breaches occur. The bill would also require agencies to share information about cybersecurity incidents with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to ensure that attacks against one agency can be compared to other agency incidents.

In June 2019, Senator Portman, as Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, released a bipartisan report that found that the vast majority of federal agencies reviewed by the Subcommittee failed to implement effective and comprehensive cybersecurity frameworks. This included the failure to protect sensitive personally identifiable information and an overreliance on outdated legacy systems.


Staff report

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