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Rep. Mike Gallagher and Sen. Angus King. Photo: Cheriss May

The U.S. should take a slew of steps today to prevent a major cyberattack that could wreak wide-scale devastation on the U.S., a year-long study mandated by Congress reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: "A major cyberattack on the nation's critical infrastructure and economic system would create chaos and lasting damage exceeding that wreaked by fires in California, floods in the Midwest, and hurricanes in the Southeast," the report predicts.

What they're saying: "This is like doing the 9/11 Commission before 9/11 happens. We want to avoid that situation," Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), a co-chair of the panel, said at an Axios event Monday.

  • At the same event, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), the other co-chair, said the U.S. does not currently have an effective deterrence policy in place to discourage hostile cyberattacks. "We are getting killed by a thousand cuts," he said.

Details: The Cyberspace Solarium Commission was established by the 2019 defense appropriations law and named for a Cold War-era project that offered recommendations for forestalling nuclear war.

  • Its report proposes a broad strategy of "layered cyber deterrence" pursued by a reorganized federal cyber defense framework with new permanent select cybersecurity committees in both houses of Congress, a Senate-confirmed National Cyber Director, and a Cyber Bureau at the State Department.
  • The report also calls for establishing a Cyber Response and Recovery Fund, a National Cybersecurity Certification and Labeling Authority, a Bureau of Cyber Statistics, a national privacy and data security law, enhanced election security measures, and formal classifications for "systemically important critical infrastructure."

What's next: President Trump has shown little enthusiasm for long-term planning and risk mitigation efforts in this realm, and his administration eliminated its top cybersecurity coordinator position in 2018. But bipartisan interest in Congress remains high, and the Cyberspace Solarium report gives future executives a template for action.

Go deeper: Read the executive summary or the full report.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

5 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.