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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

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conservation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.

Updated 3 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Thousands rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death, per AFP.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
7 hours ago - Health

Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.