Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), presented keynote remarks for the official launch and ribbon cutting of the Maine Cyber Range (MCR) -- a new cybersecurity training center at the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA), and first of its kind in the New England region. The event included a cybersecurity demonstration, where students and faculty walked Senator King, UMA President Rebecca Wyke, and University of Maine System (UMS) Chancellor Dannel Malloy through the process of defending a mock cyberattack. The Maine Cyber Range will help students and faculty learn about cybersecurity, deterrence practices, and best ways to combat cyberattacks through hands-on education. In addition, the Maine Cyber Range will aim to expand its training opportunities to professionals, businesses, and organizations across the state of Maine.
"As our 21st century world becomes increasingly interconnected, we need a new generation of workers who are prepared to help Maine people embrace the new possibilities and defend themselves against the new threats that come with our smartphones, tablets, and connected appliances and vehicles," said Senator King. "I remain concerned that a future attack on America could result in a digital disaster at the hands of a bad actor hacking our vital infrastructure. Through hands-on education and cutting-edge research, the Maine Cyber Range will be an asset not only to Maine students, but also to local businesses and organizations as we work to navigate this newly digital world together."
"We were pleased to have Senator King join us for the opening of the Maine Cyber Range," said UMA President Rebecca Wyke. "He has exhibited leadership in focusing the nation's attention on the danger of cyber-attacks on our critical infrastructures and seeking strategic and comprehensive policies in this area."
In May, Senator King announced the formal launch of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), which he co-chairs with Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.). As established by statute in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the CSC is a bipartisan effort to review the threats facing America in cyberspace and provide strategic guidance and policy recommendations on how to defend the United States against cyberthreats. The CSC -- which features a total of 14 commissioners from Congress, federal agencies, and private sector stakeholders -- seeks to build a consensus on a strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace against cyberattacks of significant consequences as the world enters a new phase of cyber conflict. The May Edition of Senator King's Inside Maine podcast featured Representative Gallagher and UMA Professor of Cybersecurity, Henry Felch to discuss national security challenges and opportunities available to Maine students to pursue a career in the cybersecurity field.
During his time in the Senate, Senator King has been a strong advocate for functional and effective cyber policy, and deterring cyberattacks on American elections and everyday life. Senator King and U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) introduced the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives in July as part of their version of the NDAA. The legislation also passed the Senate in the upper chamber's version of the NDAA, and is expected to be included in the final bill once it passes through the House/Senate conference process.
In late May, Senator King also cosponsored the Election Security Act, which would require voter-verifiable backup paper ballots and provide election security grants to states for cyber improvements and audits. Earlier that month, he highlighted the factors that could lead to election cybersecurity issues to members of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the commission who provide best practices when certifying voting machines. In March, Senator King sent a letter to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) requesting information about NERC's efforts to protect the United States' bulk power system from supply chain vulnerabilities, particularly those posed by vendors from Russia and China. In a February hearing, Senator King emphasized the need for urgent action, and questioned NERC President and CEO James Robb about the dangers of foreign equipment in America's energy grid.