Washington, D.C. –– Citing risks to cybersecurity of critical infrastructure following the recent Colonial Pipeline hack, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff secured a commitment from U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to work with him and the Georgia Ports Authority to bolster cybersecurity at the Port of Savannah.
Secretary Mayorkas agreed to visit the Port and meet with the Georgia Ports Authority, noting he would bring colleagues from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a division of the Department of Homeland Security.
Senator Ossoff has secured commitments from key White House and Administration officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young, to work to fund the completion of the Port of Savannah deepening project and ongoing expansion efforts.
Please find a transcript of the exchange below:
SEN. OSSOFF: “’I’d like to shift to a discussion of cybersecurity with a particular focus on Georgia’s needs. As you well know, Georgia hosts the Port of Savannah, which is one of the fastest growing ports in the United States, indeed in the hemisphere, vital not just to Georgia’s economy, but to the U.S. economy. We continue to see the impact of ransomware attacks and other cyberattacks on U.S. critical infrastructure, the Colonial Pipeline attack –– Colonial Pipeline also headquartered in Georgia. I want to thank your personnel who assisted in the response to that incident. My request for you, Mr. Secretary, is that you commit that the next time you have occasion to visit Georgia, and I hope we’ll welcome you soon, that you’ll sit down with me and Georgia Ports Authority personnel to discuss how DHS can better support cybersecurity to protect the Port of Savannah, and perhaps you could comment now as well on your overall assessment of efforts to protect ports from cyberattack.”
SEC. MAYORKAS: “So this is a very important area for us. Our cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency is very focused on port security in the cyber domain. And yes, Senator, I would be pleased to visit Georgia and visit the Ports Authority with you and address their concerns with respect to cybersecurity. And of course, I would bring colleagues from CISA who are most expert in that work.”
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