State and federal cybersecurity collaboration would improve under new bill, NASCIO says
Published: July 12, 2019
A bill pending in the Senate would deliver state and local governments new and needed resources for cybersecurity.
The National Association of State Chief Innovation Officers (NASCIO) endorsed the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2019, which would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to boost collaboration between federal, state, and local governments on cybersecurity. Specifically, the bill provides for additional federal grant opportunities to state, local, and tribal governments to safeguard against cyber threats, while also aiming to make efforts to strengthen the communication between the Department of Homeland Security and state and local officials regarding cybersecurity.
Typically, NASCIO strives to remain neutral and apolitical in these matters, so the organization choosing to publicly address legislation holds significance and could be indicative of the impact the legislation could have. Current NASCIO President and Delaware CIO James Collings expressed support for the bill, saying “states are the primary agents for delivering a host of critically important federally funded services on behalf of the federal government. For our CIOs and CISOs, this legislation would provide them with additional tools, resources and expertise to counteract a continuous barrage of cyber threats.” This bill would create new grants for state and local cybersecurity and start a pilot program to deploy advanced network sensors to identify malware, which currently is only available for federal use. Other provisions include a web portal for cybersecurity resources, federal assistance to implement security tools, and education and training initiatives.
Given that state and local governments have been shown to be susceptible to cyberattacks, as recently seen with the attacks on the City of Baltimore, Riviera Beach, Florida, and Georgia’s Judicial System, this legislation could provide much needed support to state and local governments, which are often strapped for manpower and funding resources. At present, the bill is pending in the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Considering the potential impact this could have on state and local governments and their approach to cybersecurity, interested vendors may wish to monitor this legislation to see if it passes, and then later how and when SLED governments choose to use these resources.