WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced bipartisan legislation to better prepare federal employees to address serious cybersecurity threats. The bill improves the President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition, a national cyber competition that identifies and helps train the best cybersecurity talent in the federal workforce, by expanding the competition to include operational technology (OT) and industrial control systems (ICS). OT systems and ICS systems manage, monitor, and control industrial operations and are typically overshadowed in the cybersecurity world even though they form the backbone of most major industries, utilities, and critical infrastructure networks.
“As foreign adversaries continue to test our cybersecurity defenses, it is more important than ever to have a well-equipped workforce that is prepared to repel all cybersecurity threats,” said Senator Peters. “My bipartisan bill will keep the President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition on the cutting edge as they seek to train our cybersecurity workforce.”
“The United States prides itself in being a champion in cyber security innovation, with many technical advancements coming out of Indiana. I’m proudly cosponsoring this bill that will enhance our national cybersecurity training competition and ultimately protect American technology from cyber-attacks from around the world,” said Senator Braun.
Established in 2019, the President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition is a national competition to train, identify, recognize, and reward the best cybersecurity talent in the federal workforce. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) leads and hosts the President’s Cup as part of their mission to expand the size and capabilities of the U.S. cyber workforce.
The bipartisan Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Competition Act ensures the competition includes testing of skills relevant to cybersecurity for operational technology and industrial control systems to ensure federal cybersecurity professionals are able to effectively work with and support critical infrastructure sectors. Most major industries and utility companies rely on OT and ICS to perform important tasks such as distributing power across states, pumping water from reservoirs, and assembling vehicles in factories. In the U.S., water utility companies in particular have seen their internet-connected ICS devices targeted and hacked by foreign adversaries. In November 2023, at least 10 water utility companies across the U.S. were hacked by an Iran-backed group, allowing the hackers to shut down remotely controlled devices that monitor and regulate pumping station water pressure.