By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On October 26, 2022, the Biden Administration announced that it is expanding the Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Cybersecurity Initiative to the chemical sector. The White House’s fact sheet states that the majority of chemical companies are privately owned, so a collaborative approach is needed between the private sector and government. According to the fact sheet, “[t]he nation’s leading chemical companies and the government’s lead agency for the chemical sector -- the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) -- have agreed on a plan to promote a higher standard of cybersecurity across the sector, including capabilities that enable visibility and threat detection for industrial control systems.”
The fact sheet states that the Chemical Action Plan will serve as a roadmap to guide the sector’s assessment of their current cybersecurity practices over the next 100 days, building on the lessons learned and best practices of the previously launched action plans for the electric, pipeline, and water sectors to meet the needs for this sector. The Chemical Action Plan will:
- Focus on high-risk chemical facilities that present significant chemical release hazards with the ultimate goal of supporting enhanced ICS cybersecurity across the entire chemical sector;
- Drive information sharing and analytical coordination between the federal government and the chemical sector;
- Foster collaboration with the sector owners and operators to facilitate and encourage the deployment of appropriate technologies based on each chemical facility’s own risk assessment and cybersecurity posture. The federal government will not select, endorse, or recommend any specific technology or provider; and
- Support the continuity of chemical production critical to the national and economic security of the United States. The chemical sector produces and manufactures chemicals that are used directly or as building blocks in the everyday lives of Americans, from fertilizers and disinfectants to personal care products and energy sources, among others.
The ICS Cybersecurity Initiative emphasizes that cybersecurity continues to be a top priority for the Administration.