The source for trade compliance news

White House Announces Series of Actions to Improve Cybersecurity at US Ports

The Biden administration on Feb. 21 announced a series of actions intended to strengthen cybersecurity at U.S. ports, including mandatory incident reporting requirements and minimum cybersecurity standards for ports and vessels.

Start A Trial

An executive order signed by President Joe Biden on that day gives the Coast Guard increased authorities to respond to cybersecurity incidents. It will require Coast Guard-regulated entities to respond to malicious activity and report cyber incidents “endangering any vessel, harbor, port, or waterfront facility.” The executive order also gives the Coast Guard the authority to “control the movement of vessels that present a known or suspected cyber threat to U.S. maritime infrastructure, and be able to inspect those vessels and facilities that pose a threat to our cybersecurity.”

A concurrent proposed rule released by the Coast Guard Feb. 21 would set “minimum cybersecurity requirements that meet international and industry-recognized standards to best manage cyber threats,” the White House said.

Those standards would be “primarily based on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s cross-sector Cybersecurity Performance Goals, which the maritime industry should already be familiar with,” said Rear Admiral John Vann, commander of Coast Guard Cyber Command, on a press call held the evening of Feb. 20. Comments on the proposal will be due April 22, he said.

The Coast Guard also will announce a maritime security directive that will require owners and operators of ship-to-shore cranes manufactured in China and located at “U.S. Commercial Strategic Seaports” to “take a series of actions” related to cybersecurity, the White House said.

And the administration also will invest over $20 billion over the next five years “into U.S. port infrastructure,” it said. Part of that will support an effort by Paceco Corp. to “partner with other trusted manufacturing companies to bring port crane manufacturing capabilities back to the U.S. for the first time in 30 years, pending final site and partner selection,” the administration said.