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Three U.S. agencies announce Pathfinder initiative to protect energy critical infrastructure


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) jointly signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to partner on a new Energy Sector Pathfinder initiative. The goals of this initiative are to advance information sharing, improve training and education to understand systemic risks, and develop joint operational preparedness and response activities to cybersecurity threats.

The Energy Sector Pathfinder initiative builds on previous Pathfinder initiatives across government and the private sector. The Pathfinder program is an exploratory program scoped to address the technologies, challenges and threats facing a specific critical infrastructure sector, adapted to its regulatory environment, maturity and existing relationship with the U.S. Government. The Energy Sector Pathfinder will explore challenges facing America’s energy critical infrastructure and strengthen interagency collaboration on preventing and responding to the constantly evolving cyber threats.

“Through this agreement, we will strengthen the partnership between DOE, DHS, and DoD to enable intergovernmental cooperation and bolster our ability to proactively address cyber threats to critical energy infrastructure, and to respond effectively should those threats materialize,” said DOE Assistant Secretary of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response Karen S. Evans. “The Department of Energy is committed to working with our partner agencies to secure U.S. critical energy infrastructure.”

“The lessons learned through this program will help inform the process to develop indicators and warnings across multiple national critical functions, enhance cyber threat information sharing efforts, and facilitate rapid response and improved resiliency across all sectors,” said Bryan Ware, DHS Assistant Director for Cybersecurity at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Central to the ability to defend critical infrastructure in the U.S. are the advanced, realistic exercises conducted by response assets. The Energy Sector Pathfinder program will facilitate collaboration on response playbooks that can be shared with all stakeholders, as well as exercises to stress-test the playbooks and to drive capability development.