U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) today announced the creation of the ‘Senate Cybersecurity Caucus’ to keep Senators and their staffs informed on major policy issues and developments in cybersecurity. 

The announcement which was made at an American Enterprise Institute event today on Capitol Hill emphasized the caucus will focus on the impact of cybersecurity on national security, the economy and digital security.

The caucus will provide unique opportunities to inform Senators on the major cyber policy issues facing Congress, introduce Senators and their staff to leading cybersecurity experts, and promote bipartisan and cross-jurisdictional discussions on this important issue.

Cyberattacks account for up to $120 billion in economic and intellectual property loss annually and cost the average U.S. firm more than $15 million per year, the lawmakers noted in a release. Additionally, consumer concerns about cybersecurity are increasingly impacting the growth of the digital economy.

Survey research from NTIA just last month indicated that 45% of households reported that concerns about online privacy and security stopped them from conducting financial transactions, engaging in e-commerce, or posting on social networks.

“Cybersecurity is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation, and both the private and the public sector need to be better prepared to address the escalating threat from cyberattacks,” ,” said Warner, a former technology executive and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“So far this Congress, nine Senate committees have held hearings on this issue, focusing on aspects as diverse as protecting taxpayer information from cyber theft, the development of deterrent technologies targeted at foreign actors, and the need to secure our infrastructure against intrusion.  These hearings provide useful insight into the many aspects of our cyber vulnerability,” he added.

“As the cyber threat continues to evolve, so must our strategy,” Gardner said. “Rifle shots targeting a massive, growing problem have fallen well-short of sufficient. We need a grand strategy to combat positively identified bad actors, and that requires a broad policy response that is adaptable to technological developments and the ever-changing cyber field,” he added.

Both lawmakers are prominent voices on issue of cybersecurity. Warner, together with Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), is spearheading the effort to establish a commission to study the challenges encryption poses to law enforcement.

“ The goal of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus is to jumpstart discussions about how to best address the cybersecurity challenges we face, and I’m hopeful my colleagues will recognize this caucus’ role in strengthening our national security and join us, said Gardner. We need a whole of government approach to cyber, and this effort will start focusing cyber policy on the full spectrum of threats and opportunities.”