Cybersecurity Collaboration Bill Aims to Help Companies

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By George Lynch

A bipartisan Senate bill would give states more resources to help companies combat the growing cybersecurity risk, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said March 10 in a statement.

Companies and organizations struggling to respond to the increased risk would gain important resources at the state and local levels from the Department of Homeland Security and partner institutions under the bill.

The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act introduced by Cornyn, and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), would authorize Homeland Security to work with universities such as the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M and the University of Arkansas to prepare for and respond to national, state and local cybersecurity risks. It would also help states and communities develop cybersecurity information sharing programs. The bill’s text has not yet been released.

“With national security threats constantly evolving, we must take every precaution to ensure our communities are well-equipped to respond,” Cornyn said.

The bill also includes provisions on training for first responders and officials; simulation exercises for state and local governments, critical infrastructure operators and private industry; and incorporating cybersecurity risk to state emergency plans.

House Companion Bill

In the House, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) introduced a companion bill ( H.R. 1465) March 9.

“This legislation allows the Department of Homeland Security to collaborate with experts outside of the government to improve state and local cyber preparedness,” Castro said in a statement.

A similar measure passed the House during the 114th Congress but died in the Senate.

To contact the reporter on this story: George Lynch in Washington at gLynch@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald Aplin at daplin@bna.com

For More Information

Information on the bill is available at http://src.bna.com/mS8.

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