Cybersecurity is one of the preeminent challenges of our time, which is why President Biden has made strengthening U.S. cybersecurity capabilities a top priority and has already taken action to advance it, including with last week’s Executive Order. The American Jobs Plan will build on that work and deliver resilient infrastructure for the American people, including a renewed electric grid. Cybersecurity is a core part of resilience and building infrastructure of the future, and the American Jobs Plan will allocate opportunities and resources to bolster cyber defenses. Specifically, the American Jobs Plan will:
- Make $20 billion in Energy Infrastructure Investments for State, Local, and Tribal Governments Contingent on Cyber Modernization: Governors, mayors, and legislators have embraced ambitious energy system modernization goals that have already driven significant private investment into grid upgrades, clean electricity, and U.S. cybersecurity. This $20 billion investment in DOE-administered energy system modernization block grants would support critical infrastructure – additional grid resilience, clean electricity, and cybersecurity efforts – and spur early action by state and local governments that creates a favorable environment for increased private investment, creating jobs, reducing pollution, and boosting security.
Specifically, these modernization block grants will be tied to the use of and compliance with 21st century energy, technology, and security standards. Eligibility for these grants will also be contingent on policies requiring installation of technology that detects and blocks malicious cyber activity on information and operational technology networks, consistent with privacy protections. States and local governments will be able to use these investments to directly fund standalone cyber infrastructure and networks that have tightly gated access to the Internet, which would bolster the resilience of a clean energy grid.
- Promote a secure network with the American Jobs Plan’s historic $100 billion broadband investment. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan will bring affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American. This historic investment will also promote network security. Grant recipients will be asked to source from “trusted vendors” and give preference to open, interoperable architecture where feasible, and implement cybersecurity consistent with approaches and priorities described in the Executive Order on Cybersecurity of May 12, 2021.
- Create a new tax credit for transmission infrastructure that will help finance cyber technologies for the electric grid. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan includes a targeted investment tax credit that incentivizes the buildout of at least 20 gigawatts of high-voltage capacity power lines and mobilizes tens of billions in private capital off the sidelines – right away. These tax credits will also encourage stronger cybersecurity capabilities.
- Safeguard critical infrastructure and grid resilience. The American Jobs Plan devotes $2 billion to support micro-grids and distributed energy infrastructure for grid resilience in areas with high risk of power outages, critical infrastructure, and front-line communities. These funds will also be used for transmission risk reduction, including planning grants, scale up grants, efforts for winterization and floods, and supply chain readiness (including equipment reserves). As cybersecurity is a core part of resilience, this funding will be contingent on meeting and maintaining compliance with modern sensor and reporting requirements, with a portion of the funding reserved for investments in standalone infrastructure and networks with tight cybersecurity controls, including tightly gated access to the Internet. And, similar to clean energy block grants and the tax credit for transmission infrastructure, these funds will require recipients to install cybersecurity capabilities that detect and block malicious cyber activity.
In addition to the historic cybersecurity investments outlined in the American Jobs Plan, President Biden has called on Congress to launch the most ambitious effort ever to modernize and secure federal IT and networks. The President secured more than $1 billion for this initiative through the American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan will:
- Expand and improve the technology modernization fund. The President’s American Rescue Plan included $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund, which will be used to deploy immediate security upgrades, facilitate a shift to a secure cloud infrastructure, improve the foundational technology used across the federal government, and assist agencies in delivering services to the American people.
- Improve security monitoring and incident response activities. The American Rescue Plan provided $650M to the Cyber Security and Information Security Agency (CISA), which will be used to improve CISAs response capabilities, upgrade its ability to support security projects at agencies and departments, and deploy modern endpoint protections for the federal civilian networks.