Today, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report on fortifying the nation’s cyber-physical systems. These systems are the integrated digital and infrastructural resources that are crucial to Americans’ daily lives, including the electrical grid, public water systems, internet and telecommunications, banking systems, air traffic control, and much more.

President Biden has taken historic action to strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity to create a more equitable, safe, and resilient landscape in which every American can thrive and prosper. His leadership has spurred a whole-of-government approach to strengthen the nation’s cyber-physical infrastructure and protect these vital societal resources from targeted attacks, natural disasters, and human error. The Biden-Harris Administration has advanced bold actions with a national cybersecurity strategy through the Office of the National Cyber Director, and critical efforts by the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Security Council. These efforts are driving innovative solutions and stimulating more public-private partnerships.

Challenges remain, however, and more urgent action on cyber-physical resilience is still needed. Recommendations in this report include leveraging the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and coordinating with other federal and private stakeholders.

PCAST’s recommendations include:

  • Establishing measures of resilience and setting performance goals that set minimum delivery objectivesfor critical services that are integral to daily life, even in the face of adversity from natural hazards, errors, or attacks.  
  • Bolstering and coordinating research and development to better understand the weaknesses of existing infrastructure and steps forward to introduce deep resiliency, including creating a national critical infrastructure observatory to map our infrastructure so that we can outmatch adversaries in discovering and addressing vulnerabilities and concentration risk.
  • Breaking down silos and strengthening government cyber-physical resilience capacity to support the resilience goals of the nation’s critical infrastructure sectors, ensuring that they can reliably deliver the services that Americans need.
  • Developing greater industry, board, CEO, and executive accountability to ensure that infrastructure is reliable and resilient.

These recommendations aim to augment actions of the Biden-Harris Administration to reinforce security of the vital cyber-physical infrastructural resources utilized by all Americans.

To view a full copy of the PCAST report, please click here.

To view PCAST’s Letter to the President and the Executive Summary of the report, please click here.

PCAST is the sole body of advisors from outside the federal government charged with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President. Learn more about their work here.

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