The House last Wednesday unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that would create a new grant program within the Department of Homeland Security to help state and local governments boost their cyber security posture.
The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act (H.R. 5823), which passed by voice vote, establishes a $400 million grant program and requires government entities applying for funding under the program to develop comprehensive cyber security plans for how the money will be used. It also directs that any state applying for a grant establish a cyber security planning committee to develop and implement the state's Cybersecurity Plan and determine funding priorities.
The grant program also includes incentives for states to increase their cyber security funding.
The bill, which has been referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for consideration, also requires the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to develop a strategy to improve the cyber security of state, local, tribal and territorial governments.
The bill authorizes Congress to provide $400 million annually for the grant program from fiscal years 2021 through 2025.
"Our bipartisan bill, which passed the House today, will ensure state and local governments have the necessary resources and guidance to be prepared for, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks," Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), a co-sponsor of the legislation and the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, said in a statement. "While the cyber-attacks in Central New York last year underscored the need to bolster our cyber security, these threats have been growing for years."
The House last week also passed by voice vote a bill to establish a DHS acquisition professional career program within the Undersecretary for Management. The Homeland Security Acquisition Professional Career Program Act (H.R. 5822) would require the undersecretary to designate occupational series, grades, and number of acquisition programs throughout DHS to be included in the program and centrally manage these positions.
The acquisition bill was also referred to the Senate Homeland Security Committee.