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Biden-Harris Administration announces initiative to bolster cybersecurity of U.S. ports

Biden-Harris Administration announces initiative to bolster cybersecurity of U.S. ports

Administration announces initiative to bolster cybersecurity of U.S. ports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Biden-Harris Administration has announced it will issue an Executive Order to bolster the nation’s port security, alongside a series of additional actions it said will strengthen maritime cybersecurity, fortify supply chains, and strengthen the United States industrial base.

The Administration also announced its intent to bring domestic onshore manufacturing capacity back to America as the result of an over $20 billion investment in U.S. port infrastructure under President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda.

“The security of our critical infrastructure remains a national imperative in an increasingly complex threat environment,” a statement from the White House read. “MTS [Marine Transportation System] owners and operators rely on digital systems to enable their operations, to include ship navigation, the movement of cargo, engineering, safety, and security monitoring. These systems have revolutionized the maritime shipping industry and American supply chains by enhancing the speed and efficiency of moving goods to market, but the increasing digital interconnectedness of our economy and supply chains have also introduced vulnerabilities that, if exploited, could have cascading impacts on America’s ports, the economy, and everyday hard-working Americans.”

The executive order signed by President Biden will bolster the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to directly address maritime cyber threats, including through cybersecurity standards to ensure that American ports’ networks and systems are secure. The order will give the U.S. Coast Guard authority to respond to malicious cyber activity in the nation’s MTS by requiring vessels and waterfront facilities to mitigate cyber conditions that may endanger the safety of a vessel, facility, or harbor. It will also institute mandatory reporting of cyber incidents – or active cyber threats – endangering any vessel, harbor, port, or waterfront facility. Additionally, the Coast Guard will now have the authority to control the movement of vessels that present a known or suspected cyber threat to U.S. maritime infrastructure, and be able to inspect those vessels and facilities that pose a threat to our cybersecurity.

The U.S. Coast Guard will issue a Maritime Security Directive on cyber risk management actions for ship-to-shore cranes manufactured by the People’s Republic of China located at U.S. Commercial Strategic Seaports. Owners and operators of these cranes must acknowledge the directive and take a series of actions on these cranes and associated Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) systems, the Administration said. These actions were taken to addresses several vulnerabilities that were identified in the recently updated and released U.S. Maritime Advisory, 2024-00X – Worldwide Foreign Adversarial Technological, Physical, and Cyber Influence.

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Cybersecurity in the Marine Transportation System that is said to strengthen those digital systems by establishing minimum cybersecurity requirements that meet international and industry-recognized standards to best manage cyber threats.

The announcement from the White House is part of the Administration’s fourth Investing in America tour, where White House and administration officials are traveling across the country to highlight the impacts of the President’s Investing in America agenda on communities, families, small businesses and the United States’ economic and national security. It also follows-up on the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience’s efforts to strengthen America’s supply chains, particularly by addressing supply chain risks resulting from threats and vulnerabilities inside U.S. ports.


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