Biden puts his stamp on DOE’s grid security role

By Peter Behr | 05/01/2024 07:05 AM EDT

The White House directed the department to identify critical infrastructure to protect against hackers and natural disasters.

Power lines in Houston.

Power lines in Houston are pictured. David J. Phillip/AP

A new national security memorandum signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden updates the government’s decade-old strategy for defending U.S. infrastructure against natural disasters, cyberattacks and physical assaults.

The new document formalizes the role of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), part of the Department of Homeland Security, as the government’s coordinator of threat assessments across 16 sectors, from energy, defense and finance to the food and agriculture industries.

“If anything, it’s probably overdue,” said Frank Cilluffo, director of Auburn University’s McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security, a former member of a high-level congressional cybersecurity policy panel.


DHS’s CISA, the quarterback of the defense efforts, didn’t exist in its current form when the original 2013 National Infrastructure Protection Plan was issued. The same is true for the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response agency at the Department of Energy.