Cornyn, Leahy, Cruz Introduce Bill to Boost State and Local Cyber Preparedness

In: All News   Posted 03/10/2017

Bill Would Allow DHS to Work with Consortium to Train States, Local Governments on Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act to authorize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to work with the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC) to address cybersecurity preparedness at the state and local level and respond to potential cybersecurity risks.

“With national security threats constantly evolving, we must take every precaution to ensure our communities are well-equipped to respond,” said Sen. Cornyn.  “State and local governments often don’t have access to the same tools as entities at the federal level. This bill would allow two leading academic institutions in Texas to help train states and local governments to respond and mitigate a potential cyberattack.”

“Cybersecurity is an imperative for us all.  From large corporations to small businesses and individual Vermonters, to government agencies, our digital security is increasingly at risk,” said Sen. Leahy.  “I have long supported the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium to educate our communities to defend and recover from cyberattack.  The bipartisan legislation we are introducing today will help to ensure continued collaboration between cybersecurity expertise developed at our nation’s finest educational institutions and state and local governments.  I am proud to support this bipartisan effort.”

“The ever-increasing cyber threat, whether from state actors or rogue entities, requires continued vigilance to safeguard federal, state, and local infrastructure,” said Sen. Cruz. "This bill will help ensure that state and local communities are able to receive training and preparation to strengthen their capabilities. I’m proud to work on legislation that is being spearheaded by Texas universities and appreciate the assistance of my colleagues to help our local and state officials fight and respond to cyberattacks.”

The NCPC is comprised of university- based training entities including The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, The University of Arkansas, The University of Memphis, and Norwich University. Under this bill, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would be authorized to work with the NCPC to:

  • Train state and local first responders and officials, develop curriculums, and provide technical assistance;
  • Conduct cross-sector cybersecurity training and simulation exercises for state and local governments, critical infrastructure owners and operators, and private industry;
  • Help states and communities develop cybersecurity information sharing programs; and
  • Incorporate cybersecurity risk, incident prevention and response into existing state and local emergency plans and continuity of operations plans.