Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Wednesday introduced legislation making clear that state governors are authorized to leverage the National Guard for cyber security support services to states and localities.
The senators say that the National Guard is limited in its ability to support state and local cyber defense efforts.
“Cyberattacks can jeopardize our national security, shut down electrical grids, and threaten the operations of our hospitals and schools,” Hassan said in a statement. “We must ensure that the National Guard can help with these types of threats just like any other threat that states face. I’ve heard directly from Granite State leaders about how helpful our National Guard can be in increasing our cyber resiliency, and this bipartisan bill will make it easier for all states to fully use the impressive talents of National Guard members to help prevent cyberattacks before they happen.”
The bipartisan Cyberspace Solarium Commission reported in March that states are increasingly relying on their National Guard units to help prepare for and respond to cyber security incidents. However, the commission says Defense Department guidelines on this support for states isn’t clear.
The commission wants Congress to update DoD’s policies to clarify National Guard cyber security support to states.