Republicans focus on incentives with cybersecurity recommendations

Tina Nguyen Contributor
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After months of deliberation, the Republican Cybersecurity Task Force released its recommendations Wednesday on combating malicious cyberattacks.

The panel suggested increasing public awareness, incentivizing market solutions, securing federal networks from intrusion and updating existing laws to assist federal agencies.

Many of the cyberattacks in the United States target economic information from the private sector, according to Texas Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry, who chaired the task force. At a press conference Wednesday, he stressed that economic security held long-term importance.

“Every single day,” Thornberry said, “intellectual property, whether it’s blueprints or formulas or business plans, are stolen from businesses in the United States of all sizes.”

According to the task force, in order to prevent attacks — either on critical infrastructure or on private industry — the federal government should utilize tax credits, streamline and standardize data regulations and coordinate the ability to share and sanitize information.

“If 85 percent of the threats to our information systems can be prevented with public knowledge and best practices, we can go a long way to reducing cyber attacks,” added task force member Rep. Dan Lungren, Republican of California, noting that the recommendations would help inform both members of Congress and the general public.

Designed to help guide future legislative action on cybersecurity, these recommendations notably came from a group of congressmen representing nine separate committees.

Currently, neither the House nor the Senate has a committee with exclusive jurisdiction over cybersecurity, though prominent figures such as Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain have called for the formation of select committees to tackle an issue with serious implications for the economy and national defense.

“We believe that the current standing committees are in the best position to write the legislation that is consistent with this framework—and even more than with most issues, getting the details exactly right here is very important,” the report stated. “Therefore we assume that the committees will mark-up cyber bills within their jurisdiction, using regular order with active participation by all Members.”

Though cybersecurity overall demands a long-term strategy on multiple fronts, particularly in economic and defense, Thornberry and the eleven-member task force focused the majority of their efforts on what they would be able to accomplish before the end of this session of Congress. No bills have been submitted yet.

“I look forward to working with our committee chairmen and all ore members to examine and act on these recommendations in the coming weeks and months,” said House Speaker John Boehner.

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