Strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity will be a priority for the Senate in 2013, according to a group of Democratic senators who on Wednesday introduced new legislation around the issue.

The bill, the Cybersecurity and American Cyber Competitiveness Act of 2013, was introduced by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), Tom Carper (Del.) and Dianne Feinstein (Cali.) and aims to take a comprehensive approach at securing U.S. networks to prevent the nation and its critical infrastructure from cyber attacks.

Calling on enhanced communication and collaboration between the public and private sectors, the legislation suggests that, if passed, new research and development investments would increase American competitiveness, create new jobs in information technology, and protect the identities and information of U.S. citizens and businesses.

“The threat of a cyber attack is real, and it is growing,” advised Sen. Feinstein in a statement. “Congress must act soon to improve the government’s ability to share and receive information on cyber attacks and threats with the private sector. Our national and economic security depend on robust information sharing.”

But for many, the call for strengthened partnerships and information sharing is not new. Critics of the bill are already comparing it to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which failed to pass the Senate late last year. Though, unlike its predecessor, the new legislation does not lay out a specific strategy or requirements for reformed cybersecurity.

“I was disappointed that Congress could not come together to pass bipartisan cybersecurity legislation that I co-authored in the last Congress,” said Sen. Carper, referring to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. “Today’s legislation underscores our ongoing commitment to working to address cybersecurity and it will help lay the groundwork for a framework that can balance the needs and concerns of both government and the private sector – and keep Americans safe. Our nation cannot afford more delay on this issue.”


Michelle Kincaid is a DC-based public affairs professional specializing in technology policy. She is also creator of the blog  Follow her on Twitter at @OnCybersecurity.

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Michelle Kincaid is a DC-based public affairs professional specializing in technology policy. She is creator of the blog