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Lawmakers Propose Bill to Improve National Guard’s Cyber Response Capabilities

Capitol Hill

Lawmakers Propose Bill to Improve National Guard’s Cyber Response Capabilities

Two lawmakers have introduced a bill aimed at empowering the National Guard to better respond to cyber threats.

The National Guard Cybersecurity Support Act would give governors more authority over the deployment of National Guard forces against attacks on water supplies, electrical systems and agencies, C4ISRNET reported Thursday.

“Being ready to tackle the next generation of cyber threats requires a defense that can move quickly and decisively. Right now, our governors can’t act with the speed they need to keep our neighbors safe,” said New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim, one of the bill’s proponents.

As subsidiaries of the Department of Defense, National Guard forces have their own groups of cybersecurity teams trained to detect suspicious network activity and defend systems from attackers.

According to the bill’s proponents, the DOD’s current guidance on the deployment of the National Guard could be unclear, especially amid the increasing number of cyber attacks.

The National Guard Cybersecurity Support Act is aimed at codifying into law more robust guidelines on what governors are authorized to do.

Wilson said the bill will cut down on “bureaucratic red tape.” He noted that South Carolina’s Bluffton Township Fire District and Jasper County fell victim to ransomware attacks in 2020.

The Ransomware Task Force, a private-sector think tank formed by the Institute for Security and Technology, recently reported an increase in the average payment that victims hand over to ransomware hackers.

The Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to work with industry in implementing the RTF’s recommendations against ransomware.

Category: Cybersecurity