A small bipartisan group of senators has filed two amendments to the fiscal year National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), one requiring the Department of Homeland Security to establish federally funded cyber security coordinators in each state and the other authorizing the National Guard to help states and localities with cyber support.
The legislation requiring DHS to back cyber security coordinators in every state mirrors the Cybersecurity State Coordinator Act passed by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee earlier this year and was introduced by John Cornyn (R-Texas), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
“We’ve seen an increase in cyberattacks on hospital systems amid the pandemic, and in my state of New Hampshire, a county experienced an attack last year on their computer system, which includes the local nursing home,” Hassan said in a statement. “The federal government needs to do more to strengthen the cyber security preparedness in communities across the country, and both of these bipartisan amendments would help do so.”
The amendment authorizing the National Guard to support states and localities was offered by Cornyn and Hassan.
In March, the bipartisan Cyberspace Solarium Commission released a report that included dozens of recommendations aimed at boosting the nation’s cyber security posture, including one to clarify the cyber capabilities and strengthen the interoperability of the National Guard. The report said that while states have been relying more on the National Guard to help them respond to cyber incidents, “Department of Defense guideline leave ambiguities about what activities the National Guard can conduct and be reimbursed for with federal funding.”
At our deadline Monday evening, the Senate was expected to vote on a motion to begin consideration of the NDAA.