The president’s budget request for fiscal 2017 was released this morning and covered a number of issues grabbing the attention of our nation’s manufacturers. While there were a number of shortcomings in the budget, which you can read about here, the proposal did address the important area of cybersecurity and the need to address the serious threats facing our critical infrastructure.
Manufacturers take this threat very seriously as they are the owners, operators and makers of our nation’s most critical assets. They factor in the cyber threats they face from all over the globe at the beginning of the design process of their products and processes. And now, with the exponential growth of the transformative connected technology known as the “Internet of Things” pervasive throughout all industry sectors, manufacturers are now even more keenly aware of the need to secure their enterprise.
Our industry has consistently called for government at all levels to be a partner in enhancing our nation’s cybersecurity. We have been clear that the federal government also needs to get its own house in order. The fiscal 2017 budget request dedicates significant resources to invest in upgrading the technology and the improving the talent in the public sector. Creating the position of federal chief information security officer, a position already in place at many manufacturing firms, will help facilitate the government’s push to the 21st century.
There are a number of references in the budget request to the manufacturing sector. The administration would like to take action that mirrors many of the NAM’s recommendations in recent years. For example, it is increasing its focus on working with small businesses via outreach through the SBA, FTC, NIST and Department of Energy. One venue this interaction will happen through is NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers, a program supported by the NAM and our members. There are also new resources dedicated to best practices, new technologies and enhanced data security.
A strong partnership between our nation’s manufacturers and the public sector is needed to ensure our nation remains secure. Congress and the administration took a major step forward by passing comprehensive cybersecurity legislation last year. It is a positive development to see such a focus on cybersecurity in this year’s budget request. In 2016, the NAM will place a high priority to ensuring that as the law is implemented and as these new budget requests are debated, any final action does the most to help manufacturers grow and does not create any unnecessary red tape that would do the opposite of improving our cyber-readiness.