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Sens. Cruz, Cornyn, Leahy Introduce Bill to Enhance Cybersecurity

Bill would allow DHS to work with consortium to train states, local governments on cybersecurity

February 6, 2019

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) this week introduced the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act to authorize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to work with the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC) to help prepare for and respond to cybersecurity risks at the national, state, and local levels.

“Strengthening and streamlining cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium will go a long way in advancing our nation’s defense against cybersecurity risks and terrorist threats,” Sen. Cruz said. “This bill recognizes the vital role the private sector, state, and local entities, including the University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas A&M, serve in protecting America’s critical infrastructure. Texas continues to defend America, and I am proud to introduce this bill.”

“Our communities must be prepared to defend against the ever-evolving cyber threats they face,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Texas is fortunate to have universities like UTSA and Texas A&M to help educate governments at every level on how to prevent and respond to an impending cyberattack.”

“Improving cybersecurity remains vitally important in every aspect of our lives. Whether in businesses small or large, in our personal lives, or in our government agencies, having the assurance that we know who is accessing our digital information, how they are doing it and how they are using it is important. I have long supported the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium to educate our communities on how to defend and recover from cyberattacks. The bipartisan legislation that we are reintroducing can help to ensure continued collaboration between the cybersecurity expertise developed in our educational institutions, and our state and local governments. I’m proud to support this bipartisan effort,” said Sen. Leahy.

The NCPC is comprised of university- based training entities including The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, The University of Arkansas, The University of Memphis, and Norwich University. 

Under this bill, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would be authorized to work with the NCPC to:

  • Provide training to state and local first responders and officials, develop curriculums, and provide technical assistance;
  • Conduct cross-sector cybersecurity training and simulation exercises for state and local governments, critical infrastructure owners and operators, and private industry;
  • Help states and communities develop cybersecurity information sharing programs; and
  • Help incorporate cybersecurity risk and incident prevention and response into existing state and local emergency plans and continuity of operations plans.

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