A top Democratic senator is calling on the president to use executive branch authorities to better secure critical systems against cyber attacks.
In a letter to President Obama on Monday, Sen. John Rockefellar, (D-W.Va.), urged the president to “explore and employ every lever of executive power that you possess to protect this country from the cyber threat.”
Rockefeller co-sponsored the Cybersecurity Act, S. 3414, which failed passage in the Senate this month. The bill would have set voluntary standards for companies operating critical infrastructure, such as the electric grid, water treatment facilities and transportation systems.
Rockefeller said that many portions of the bill could be implemented via executive order, regulatory processes or under the authorities of the Homeland Security Act.
Obama’s assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, John Brennan, told the Council on Foreign Relations last week that the administration is considering the use of executive branch authorities. White House officials are determining what cybersecurity guidelines or policies can be enforced through executive order to enhance cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, most of which are controlled by the private sector.