Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Emerging and Capabilities Subcommittee, delivered the following opening statement today at a subcommittee briefing examining cybersecurity threats:

"Thank you Madam Chair. I join you in welcoming our witnesses and thank them for being here today.

"It’s also an honor to serve as Ranking Member of this subcommittee with you, Senator Hagan, and I look forward to working with you on the many important issues within its jurisdiction. 

"Just last week, in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated the threat of cyberattack has become the top security threat facing the nation, overtaking the threat of terrorism.  This assessment makes clear the risks associated with the cyber domain and it is vitally important that the United States meet them head-on. 

"Thus far, our defense-first policies have failed to deter hostile actors from attacking the United States in cyberspace.  I believe we must begin to assign accountability and impose consequences on those responsible for aggressive attacks on our systems.  Little else will influence those nation-states, terrorist organizations, and criminals who seek to hold our national security and economy at risk through exploitation of the cyber domain.  The issues are complex, technical, and can at times seem very academic; but make no mistake, the consequences are real and potentially far-reaching.   

"I look forward to hearing from Mr. Kevin Mandia, the CEO of Mandiant Corporation, about his recent report on China’s Cyber Espionage Units.  This report represents one of the most comprehensive unclassified reports on China’s People’s Liberation Army’s coordinated cyber campaign against the United States.  As Mr. Mandia cites in his report, “it is time to acknowledge the threat is originating in China” and I applaud him and his team for their work.  Because Mr. Mandia’s report is unclassified and available to the public, it affords the American people the opportunity to better understand the threats facing our nation and marks a valuable step forward in our attempt to grapple with this domain.    

"I also look forward to our second panel where we will receive classified assessments from Stephanie O’Sullivan, the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and Lt. General Jon Davis, the Deputy Commander of U.S. Cyber Command.  

"I thank the chair."