WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced a bipartisan bill to support the National Guard’s role in helping state and local governments improve their cybersecurity infrastructure.
Right now, the National Guard is limited in how it can support state efforts to improve their cyber defenses, and the Senators’ bill makes clear that states are authorized to use the National Guard to provide cyber support services to states and localities.
"Cyberattacks can jeopardize our national security, shut down electrical grids, and threaten the operations of our hospitals and schools -- we must ensure that the National Guard can help with these types of threats just like any other threat that states face," said Senator Hassan. "I've heard directly from Granite State leaders about how helpful our National Guard can be in increasing our cyber resiliency, and this bipartisan bill will make it easier for all states to fully use the impressive talents of National Guard members to help prevent cyberattacks before they happen."
“The National Guard fights to protect Americans from cybersecurity threats every day, and it is essential that they have the authority to provide support to state agencies and local governments working to keep us safe online,” said Senator Cornyn. “By ensuring the National Guard is able to work with states and localities to improve their cyber infrastructure, we can make sure the U.S. stays one step ahead of bad actors.”
Senator Hassan has prioritized efforts to address state and local cybersecurity threats as a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) and the bipartisan Senate Cybersecurity Caucus. At a HSGAC hearing earlier this year, Senator Hassan discussed the importance of supporting the National Guard’s role in state and local cybersecurity efforts with the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. Senator Hassan joined members of the New Hampshire National Guard and local, state, and federal officials for Cyber Yankee 2019, a training exercise to prepare for and prevent cyberattacks, and was briefed by officials on this year's exercise. After ransomware attacks hit Strafford County and Sunapee School District in New Hampshire last year, Senator Hassan met with officials to discuss what more the federal government can do to help protect against these attacks.
Read the bill text here.