WASHINGTON. D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) jointly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to partner on a new Energy Sector Pathfinder initiative. The goals of this initiative are to advance information sharing, improve training and education to understand systemic risks, and develop joint operational preparedness and response activities to cybersecurity threats.

The Energy Sector Pathfinder initiative builds on previous Pathfinder initiatives across government and the private sector. The Pathfinder program is an exploratory programs scoped to address the technologies, challenges, and threats facing a specific critical infrastructure sector, adapted to its regulatory environment, maturity, and existing relationship with the United States Government. The Energy Sector Pathfinder will explore challenges facing America’s energy critical infrastructure and strengthen interagency collaboration on preventing and responding to the constantly evolving cyber threats.

“Through this agreement, we will strengthen the partnership between DOE, DHS, and DoD to enable intergovernmental cooperation and bolster our ability to proactively address cyber threats to critical energy infrastructure, and to respond effectively should those threats materialize,” said DOE Assistant Secretary of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response, Karen S. Evans. “The Department of Energy is committed to working with our partner agencies to secure U.S. critical energy infrastructure.”

“The Department of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are committed to being partnership-forward organizations, in that we rely on our relationships across all infrastructure sectors and across all levels of government to advance the security interests of our nation and society. This MOU we entered into today with our partners at DOE and DoD stands as an example of that commitment; the lessons learned through this program will help inform the process to develop indicators and warnings across multiple national critical functions, enhance cyber threat information sharing efforts, and facilitate rapid response and improved resiliency across all sectors,” said Bryan Ware, DHS Assistant Director for Cybersecurity at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

"The Energy Sector Pathfinder is a priority initiative for the Department of Defense.  This DHS-DOE-DOD joint MOU enables us to work even closer with our Federal Government partners as well as our private sector partners.  We are committed to collaborating with our partners so that they can address the challenges facing America's energy critical infrastructure, including constantly evolving cyber threats, and so that DoD can more effectively defend against foreign threats.  This collaborative effort is complementary to the DoD Cyber Strategy objective to defend U.S. critical infrastructure from malicious foreign cyber activity," said Kenneth Rapuano, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security.   

Central to the Nation’s ability to defend our critical infrastructure are the advanced, realistic exercises conducted by response assets. The Energy Sector Pathfinder program will facilitate collaboration on response playbooks that can be shared with all stakeholders, as well as exercises to stress-test the playbooks and to drive capability development.