Biden Signs NDAA Relying on Voluntary Private-Sector Cybersecurity Collaboration

President Joe Biden has signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 which codifies an approach to cybersecurity that depends on the decisions of private-sector entities to protect the bulk of the nation’s critical infrastructure. From a report: The NDAA has become the go-to legislative vehicle for efforts to manage the federal government at large, and to regulate the private sector on cybersecurity issues. On the government side, the law requires the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to biennially update an incident response plan and to consult with sector-specific agencies and the private sector in establishing an exercise program to assess its effectiveness. It seeks to “ensure that the National Guard can provide cyber support services to critical infrastructure entities — including local governments and businesses,” according to Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. It also establishes a grant program at the Homeland Security Department to foster collaboration on cybersecurity technologies between public and private-sector entities in the U.S. and Israel.

Lawmakers also highlighted the inclusion of provisions codifying existing public-private partnerships at CISA which aim to offer continuous monitoring of industrial control systems — an effort known as the CyberSentry program — and to develop ‘know your customer’ guidelines for companies like cloud and other service providers comprising the “internet ecosystem.” Such companies are described as the plank bearers of CISA’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative. But provisions all rely on the voluntary participation by industry, which owns and operates the vast majority of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Despite bipartisan calls after massive breaches at SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange, Colonial Pipeline and other hacks, the NDAA made it through the House without mandatory incident reporting requirements for the private sector.