In November, the U.S. Department of Energy launched a fellowship program for critical infrastructure defenders. The new Operational Technology Defender Fellowship is a collaboration with DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Center for Cyber and Technology Innovation.
“Operational technology security managers keep the core physical systems of our energy infrastructure running smoothly in the face of natural disasters, physical sabotage, and nation-state cyberattacks,” said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, in a press release. “In support of the President’s Cybersecurity Workforce Executive Order, the Department of Energy is proud to support this elite training program to create opportunities to grow America’s cyber workforce.”
The fellowship is designed to deepen the cybersecurity knowledge of frontline critical infrastructure defenders. It will be a year-long program for OT security managers throughout the energy sector to engage with cyber and national security experts across the U.S. government.
“Securing our energy infrastructure is not an abstract policy idea, it is an immediate need to protect our nation from the real threat of malign actors,” said Sen. Angus King, CSC co-chair, in the release. “The Cyberspace Solarium Commission report advocates for operationalizing cybersecurity collaboration with the private sector and reshaping how the U.S. government coordinates with the private sector; these steps are central to our collective defense. There is no question that this new DOE initiative will better protect our country from cyberattacks.”
As part of the program, critical infrastructure defenders will gain a greater understanding of the strategies and tactics used by adversaries and how the U.S. government’s cyber operators defend the nation.
“As a world leader in securing operational technology and industrial control systems from cyber threats, INL is looking forward to sharing our knowledge and experiences with the private sector through this important fellowship,” Zach Tudor, INL associate laboratory director for National and Homeland Security programs, said in the release. “This fellowship expands on many of the lab’s successful research and development programs, our at-scale testing capabilities, and our comprehensive training and workforce development initiatives.”