Cybersecurity legislation expected next year, says Cyber Command chief

Cybersecurity legislation is likely to be finalized by the middle of next year, GEN Keith Alexander, National Security Agency Director, said Oct. 11.

“I think we’re going to solve this over the next six months,” Alexander, who also leads U.S. Cyber Command, said in a keynote address to the GEOINT 2012 Symposium in Orlando, Fla.

Legislation to create a coordinated national cybersecurity policy failed in Congress this year. Unless it’s revived in the lame-duck session after the Nov. 6 election – which seems unlikely – the new Congress will have to start over on the issue in January.

Many have blamed the failure of separate House and Senate bills on election-year politics. Alexander said politics may have been a factor, but all sides have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed, among them the question of how much the government should be involved in securing private networks.

He noted, as other supporters of the legislation have done, that lack of understanding also plays a role, but repeated his oft-stated concern that time is running out to prevent an attack that could devastate the nation’s electrical grid, financial system or other critical infrastructure.

“We need to solve this before there’s a big problem, because after there’s a big problem we’re going to race to the wrong solution,” he said.

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