The long-awaited and much-discussed cybersecurity bill was introduced in the Senate today. It is titled the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, S. 2105. The authors of the bill have worked long and hard on this legislation and they should be applauded for their attempt to address this issue important to manufacturers.
Manufacturers through their comprehensive and connected relationships with customers, vendors, suppliers, and governments are entrusted with vast amounts of data. They hold the responsibility of securing this data, the networks on which it runs, and the facilities and machinery they control at the highest priority level. Manufacturers know the economic security of the U.S. is directly related to our cybersecurity.
S.2105 recognizes the critical link between the expertise of the private sector and role of government and puts a heavy emphasis on collaboration between the two. The bill also calls for creating mechanisms that will encourage government sharing of timely and actionable threat and vulnerability information with the private sector. It addresses the issues of securing government-owned networks, streamlining existing cybersecurity offices, and dedicating significant attention to developing the next generation of the Federal cyber workforce.
While many of these provisions in the newly-introduced legislation have merit, the National Association of Manufacturers remains concerned about the new regulatory regimes created throughout the bill. The sponsors have said publicly there will be no new bureaucracies or heavy-handed regulation as a result of this bill.
Unfortunately,upon reading the bill we see it creates another layer of open-ended regulatory uncertainty. At a time when it is 20% more expensive for manufacturers to do business in the U.S. compared to our largest trading partners, more unnecessary and vague regulatory mandates are not what our country needs.
The NAM and all manufacturers remain intensely committed to working with Congress to secure our cyberinfrastructure from harm. We look forward to thoughtful discussions and examination by all the Committees with jurisdiction on this issue to ensure that any legislation that moves forward mitigates the cyber threat facing our nation.
Brian Raymond is director of technology and domestic economic policy, National Association of Manufacturers.
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