A recently introduced bipartisan bill seeks to provide state and local authorities with additional resources to assist in the fight against cybersecurity threats. Last month, Senators John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) introduced the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act, which would authorize the Department of Homeland Security to work with non-profit consortia to assist state and local governments with their cybersecurity preparedness and response efforts. House Representative Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) introduced a companion bill the same day.
Under the proposed Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security and a consortium of non-profit entities will work together to provide services including cybersecurity training and technical assistance to state and local government first responders. The Consortium would also help state and local officials modify their current emergency plans to include cybersecurity risk prevention and response provisions.
The bill also seeks to provide cybersecurity training and simulation exercises to entities, critical infrastructure owners and operators, and private industry with a goal of encouraging community-wide coordination in responding to and defending against cybersecurity threats. If the bill becomes law, it will also create cybersecurity information sharing programs under the Homeland Security Act of 2002.
“Cybersecurity is imperative for us all,” Senator Leahy stated in a press release. Senator Leahy, expressed hope that the bipartisan legislation “will help to ensure continued collaboration between cybersecurity expertise developed at our nation’s finest educational institutions and state and local governments.”
A similar bill passed the House of Representatives during the 114th Congress but did not make it through the Senate.