In his State of the Union message on Tuesday, President Obama announced that he had signed an Executive Order addressing the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure. President Obama emphasized that in the face of threats to corporate secrets, the power grid, and financial institutions, among others, “We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.”
The Executive Order follows legislative efforts in the last Congress to pass comprehensive cybersecurity bills. After the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414) failed to pass in August 2012, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan mentioned in an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations that the President was considering issuing an Executive Order to implement portions of the cybersecurity legislation. In the subsequent months, the White House sought industry input on the Order.
The Order has two main components: increasing information sharing from the government to the private sector and establishing a Cybersecurity Framework to buttress the security of critical infrastructure.