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Congress Advances Bill Authorizing Collaboration Between DHS, Cybersecurity Consortium



Congress Advances Bill Authorizing Collaboration Between DHS, Cybersecurity Consortium

The House of Representatives has passed its version of a bill seeking to give the Department of Homeland Security more tools to strengthen national cybersecurity preparedness.

The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act of 2021, which was proposed by Sens. John Cornyn and Patrick Leahy in March 2021, would authorize DHS to collaborate with the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium to mitigate risks at the national, state and local levels.

According to its website, NCPC offers cybersecurity-related training and assistance with an emphasis on cybersecurity being a “whole community” effort.

The consortium is made up of university-based training organizations such as the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, the University of Arkansas, the University of Memphis and Norwich University, Cornyn’s office said.

If enacted, the proposed bill would permit DHS and NCPC to jointly provide training to first responders, develop curriculums and provide technical assistance.

The two organizations would also be allowed to host cross-sector cybersecurity exercises, help local governments develop cybersecurity information-sharing programs and integrate cybersecurity into local emergency plans. 

NCPC says on its website that it has been delivering DHS-certified online and face-to-face training to local governments and critical infrastructure organizations since 2004.

Cornyn said that the bill would help local governments and critical infrastructure operators prepare for potential Russian cyberattacks, a threat that DHS has warned U.S. organizations about.

“In the face of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States must remain extra vigilant against potentially disastrous cyber threats from Russian hackers that would weaken our infrastructure and military readiness,” the senator said.

The bill is set to return to the Senate for final passage due to amendments, Cornyn’s office said.

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Category: Cybersecurity