Bipartsian bill looks to aid state and local governments with cyber response

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A group of senators and representatives from Texas have offered bills in Congress that would help state and local governments more effectively plan how to respond to cyber attacks.

In the House, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) on March 10 introduced legislation that would give state and local governments a hand from the Department of Homeland Security, universities and non-profit groups with their cybersecurity plans.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) put forth a companion bill in the Senate.

"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. "With new access to specialists and cutting edge guidance, communities can improve their security and better plan for potential cyber attacks."

Specifically, the bill would help state and local first responders with cyber training technical assistance across sectors, as well as with cyberattack risk and incident simulation. It would also assist states and local communities with developing information sharing programs and help them incorporate risk, incident prevention and response into their emergency plans.

Both bills had been introduced in the last Congress. The House bill was approved. The Senate bill, however, stalled in committee in September.

The House bill, the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act, H.R. 1465, is also backed by Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

If passed, the legislation would bring resources home to Texas. The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium is headquartered at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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