Feds Not Authorized to Deal with Electric Grid Disruptions

Aliya Sternstein | Nextgov | February 2, 2012

The federal government does not have the legal authority to contain computer network meltdowns capable of roiling society and will not obtain that power until at least 2013, said a cybersecurity researcher who advises Congress and the Obama administration.

There is considerable agreement in the House and the Senate that the government should be able to tell private companies running systems vital to Americans -- the power grids, telecommunications lines and financial markets -- how to protect their computers.

But industry pushback and election year politicking are stifling efforts to make security mandatory in critical sectors, said James A. Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was speaking before government officials and federal contractors at a Thursday briefing hosted by Government Executive, Nextgov's sister publication...