Rep. Andrew Garbarino, R-N.Y., is asking the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to provide some clarity on its partnerships in the critical infrastructure sectors. 


Specifically, Rep. Garbarino – chairman of the House Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee – wants to know whether or not CISA is looking to incorporate existing partnerships into its Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC).


In an Aug. 28 letter sent to CISA Director Jen Easterly, the congressman pointed to CISA’s relationship with the Analysis & Resilience Center (ARC) for Systemic Risk and the Department of Energy’s Energy Threat Analysis Center (ETAC). 


Rep. Garbarino said that CISA previously relied on a cross-sector partnership with these organizations, but he is now asking how CISA will approach these partnerships going forward as it drives towards a sector-specific approach.


“Despite ample engagement and participation in the ARC by the owners and operators of cross-sector critical infrastructure entities, and a history of engaging with the ARC since its inception, I understand that CISA may adopt a different sector-specific approach,” Rep. Garbarino wrote.


He noted that at the end of 2022, the electricity members left the ARC to engage with the ETAC. Additionally, he said that financial services sector stakeholders recently received written notice of “CISA’s intent to alter the ARC’s facility clearance, although now CISA appears to have reconsidered and granted the facility clearance.”


“The ARC model has proven effective, and I encourage CISA to continue bolstering established partnerships,” Rep. Garbarino added. “These partnerships will be crucial for the agency’s broader public-private partnership strategy, at a time when threats from adversarial nations are unrelenting.”


Due to a lack of clarity surrounding these partnerships, Rep. Garbarino is asking CISA for a briefing to discuss how it is engaging with the ETAC, as well as if it has any plans to absorb the ARC and the ETAC as a “spoke” of CISA’s JCDC.


He also wants to know how CISA plans to resource any expansion of the JCDC’s “spokes” with the current fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget request.


Finally, the congressman asked for information on how CISA supports cross-sector systemic risk and resilience efforts “now that the agency is driving towards a sector-specific approach.” 


Rep. Garbarino instructed CISA to schedule the briefing no later than Sept. 28, 2023.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.