Joint Chiefs Chair Says Cybersecurity Legislation a Must

Weighs in on eve of cloture vote on S. 3414

Add General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, to the administration voices calling on Congress to pass cybersecurity

"We must act now," he
said in a letter
to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) after Rockefeller, a cosponsor
of S. 3414, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, reached out to the general for input
on its importance.

The general said three keys to such legislation are that it
encourage real-time sharing of cyberthreat information between the public and
private sector without compromising civil liberties or privacy, that it
establish minimum standards for critical infrastructure protection, and that
the Defense Department work with industry to "stop the exfiltration of
sensitive information."

On Tuesday, July 31, General Keith Alexander, head of the
National Security Agency, said the Senate should approve cybersecurity
legislation this week, saying that facing down the cyberthreat "demands
immediate action."

With a compromise not yet in sight, Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested the Republicans would ultimately block a vote on
S. 3414 and has called for a cloture vote Thursday which is essentially an up
or down vote on restricting amendments to only those that are germane, then
voting on the bill in the full Senate.

Republicans have signaled they will not support that, saying
the bill needs more work. They have offered their own version of a
cybersecurity bill, The SECURE IT Act, focused on info sharing, but Democrats
say it lacks critical infrastructure protections.