The White House issued the National Maritime Cybersecurity Plan – a plan for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop and deploy a maritime cybersecurity workforce in order to monitor, protect and mitigate cyber threats to the maritime sector.

According to the plan, released by the White House in December 2020, DHS, through the Coast Guard, will “develop cybersecurity career paths, incentives, continuing education requirements, and retention incentives to build a competent maritime cyber workforce.” DHS will also coordinate with “other applicable departments and agencies.”

Reportedly, “Federal maritime cybersecurity forces exist, but are not sufficiently staffed, resourced, and trained to monitor, protect, and mitigate cyber threats across the maritime sector.” The new plan aims to close the current gaps and “ensure the maximum protection of maritime critical infrastructure.”

DHS, working with the United States Navy, will also collaborate with the private sector to “increase maritime cybersecurity expertise.” The Navy and Coast Guard will focus on port and vessel cybersecurity research and application, in addition to personnel exchanges with industry and national laboratories.

The Coast Guard will oversee developing and deploying the maritime cybersecurity workforce. The Coast Guard will field cyber protection teams “to support federal maritime security coordination of MTSA [Maritime Transportation Security Act]-regulated facilities and aid in marine investigations, as required.”

The White House report also stressed it is important to “implement maritime cybersecurity standards, share best practices, and protect the maritime domain that nourishes our economy and protects our national security.”

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