Energy Secretary Rick Perry will focus on securing the U.S. energy grid from cyberattacks in the upcoming year, mostly through the new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER).
Perry appeared in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Thursday to answer questions about and defend the 2019 budget for the Department of Energy (DOE).
Perry touted his plan to form CESER and the Office of Electricity Delivery by breaking up the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OEDER), letting each agency focus on different aspects of grid security. The budget splits $157 million between the two new offices, roughly $70 million less than OEDER received last year.
While the overall budget decreased for grid reliability and cybersecurity, Perry noted later in the hearing that the money directed to cybersecurity research is increased by roughly 8 percent, a “significant” increase.
“Among the most critical missions at the Department is to develop science and technology that will ensure Americans have a resilient electric grid and energy infrastructure,” Perry said in his testimony. “Protecting this infrastructure means it has to be resilient and secure to defend against the evolving threat of cyber and other attacks.”
The DOE’s 2019 budget also prioritizes management of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, protecting and preserving nuclear warheads. The budget boosts nuclear weapons management funds by $1.8 billion, allocating $11 billion total toward Weapons Activities under the DOE.
The budget targets renewable energy and efficiency significantly, cutting research by about 65 percent from the previous year.
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