Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) was appointed by House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) to be Chair of theSubcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation, effective Friday, September 25, 2020. Underwood currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Committee.
“Our nation faces homeland security threats that endanger not only the lives of Americans, but the foundation of the democracy we hold dear. As Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation, I look forward to advancing legislation that makes us safer—whether that means securing our elections against foreign interference and cyberattacks, or protecting our schools and houses of worship from targeted violence—and conducting oversight of the Administration to ensure the job gets done,” Chairwoman Underwood said. “With the 2020 election currently underway across Illinois and the country, this committee’s work is more critical than ever before. I’m honored to step into this leadership role to secure our cyber and physical infrastructure in a way that reflects American values.”
“From persistent attempts by foreign adversaries to influence our elections to growing cybersecurity threats amidst the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, our country faces unprecedented threats and it is critical we have the leadership in place to tackle these growing challenges,” Chairman Thompson said. “It is my incredible honor to have Congresswoman Underwood serve as Chair of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation. She has served admirably as the Vice Chair of the Committee and I know she is ready to confront the multifaceted issues facing our nation. I look forward to continuing our work together to secure our elections, protect our homeland, and conduct critical oversight of this Administration.”
The Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation (CIPI) Subcommittee is responsible for oversight and legislative activities regarding the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Science and Technology Directorate. The CIPI Subcommittee oversees the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to advance the federal government’s security, and to improve and protect physical and virtual critical infrastructure like the electric grid, water systems, voting machines and others that support the health care, energy, and transportation sectors.
As the Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, Underwood has worked to safeguard the integrity of U.S. elections, secure voters’ personal data, and protect communities from domestic terrorist threats. In October 2019, Underwood welcomed the House Committee on Homeland Security to Gurnee, Illinois for a field hearing on election security, where she highlighted Illinois’s leadership in strengthening election infrastructure after a 2016 cyberattack accessed the registration data of 76,000 Illinois voters. Additionally, Underwood introduced the bipartisan Safe Communities Act to increase access to federal resources and aid to rural and suburban communities, which have historically experienced funding gaps, to ensure that first responders, schools, nonprofits, and houses of worship can protect themselves against terrorist attacks.