A new federal legislation was introduced recently to address cybersecurity threats to information systems of state, local, and territorial governments in the U.S. The legislation, “the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act”, will create a grant program worth US$400 million to finance cybersecurity improvement attempts in communities across the country. The legislation was introduced by a group of bipartisan representatives, Rep. Cedric Richmond, Rep. John Katko, Rep. Derek Kilmer, Rep. Michael McCaul, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, and Rep. Mike Rogers, who are associated with the House Committee on Homeland Security.
According to an official statement, the funds will be provided to eligible communities by the Department of Homeland Security to assist in areas like vulnerability scanning and testing, cyber workforce development, and intelligence sharing.
Apart from cybersecurity funding, the bill requires DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to develop strategies to improve the cybersecurity posture of the communities. It also establishes a state and local cybersecurity resiliency committee, giving state and local communities a venue to report their security needs to CISA.
Commenting on the newly released legislation, Congressman Cedric Richmond, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, said, “The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act is a critically important piece of legislation that provides state and local governments the tools they need to significantly invest in their cybersecurity infrastructure. Louisiana has long been vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and this bill offers the resources needed to ensure protection against potential threats. I’m proud to introduce this comprehensive measure to give Louisiana and other states across the country the proper framework they need to implement vital cybersecurity plans.”
Energy Sector Pathfinder
Recently, the U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DoE), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joined hands to work on a new initiative “Energy Sector Pathfinder”, which was intended to protect the U.S. Energy Critical Infrastructure and bolster cybersecurity partnerships in the sector. The three federal departments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to partner on the new initiative, which is aimed to improve training and education to understand cyber risks, advance information sharing, and develop joint operational preparedness and response activities to cybersecurity threats.