WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) co-chaired the last meeting of 2018 for the Oil and Natural Gas Subsector Coordinating Council (ONG SCC) and the Energy Government Coordinating Council (EGCC) at DOE Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes, Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) Karen Evans, and Assistant Secretary for Electricity Bruce Walker all participated in the meeting aimed at advancing joint initiatives to enhance the security and resilience of the Nation’s oil and natural gas infrastructure.
Topics of discussion at yesterday's meeting covered the National Cybersecurity Strategy, government and industry priorities, cybersecurity and information sharing, incident response, and strategic actions. Under Secretary Menezes kicked off the cybersecurity and information sharing discussion, highlighting Assistant Secretary Evans new role as the DOE lead with DHS for joint EGCC-ONG SCC activities.
“DOE works very closely with our interagency partners and industry when it comes to preparing for and responding to cyber threats,” said Under Secretary Menezes. “Assistant Secretary Evans will ensure close collaboration and communication in the government- and industry-wide efforts to address these challenges.”
The group also discussed the coordinated and successful response to the impacts of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, underscoring the importance of how government industry coordination can make a real difference and discussing ways to make joint efforts even more successful in the future. Assistant Secretaries Evans and Walker noted DOE’s role in ensuring infrastructure safety and reliability in the oil and gas sector, in efforts such as the Pipeline Security Initiative and public and private sector partner investments.
“As the Sector-Specific Agency (SSA) for the energy sector, the U.S. Department of Energy is committed to working with our industry and interagency partners to enhance our nation's energy security," said Assistant Secretary Evans. “The Pipeline Security Initiative will leverage the unique expertise of DOE, DHS, TSA, and other federal agencies to support the efforts of the Oil and Natural Gas Subsector Coordinating Council to address the threats to our nation's pipelines."
“Our meetings this week with the ONG SCC helped further partnership between the federal government and the oil and natural gas industry, as we launched the pipeline cybersecurity initiative that partners DHS NPPD cybersecurity resources, DOE’s energy sector expertise, with TSA’s regular and ongoing assessments of pipeline security to get a broader understanding of the risks the sector faces,” said Bob Kolasky, Director of the DHS National Risk Management Center. “The meeting highlighted the public-private partnerships that are essential to address strategic risk and gave industry an opportunity to highlight the essential elements collaboration will drive better security”
“Boosting public and private investments to improve the country’s critical energy infrastructure and technology is paramount to ensuring a reliable and resilient electric grid,” said Assistant Secretary Walker. “Since DOE is the SSA for the energy sector, we are prioritizing work with our federal partners, the oil and gas industry, and the electric industry to incentivize these crucial and necessary investments.”