Congress proposes grants for state, local cybersecurity

Congress proposes grants for state, local cybersecurity

To help states and local governments fight cyber intrusions and other threats, a group of lawmakers from both parties and both houses of Congress introduced a bill that would give those entities more assistance.

The State Cyber Resiliency Act, according to the bill’s sponsors, would set up a cybersecurity grant program to provide states with resources to develop and implement effective cyber resiliency plans, including efforts to identify, detect, protect, respond and recover from cyber threats. It also would encourage development of a stronger cybersecurity workforce.

State, local, and tribal governments typically devote less than two percent of their IT budget to cybersecurity, according to the bill’s sponsors, Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), along with Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

The sponsors cited studies that showed in 2015, 50 percent of state and local governments had six or more cyber breaches within the last two years. They also noted that in the past year hackers had breached more than 200,000 personal voter records in the states of Arizona and Illinois.

In the wake of those election-system breaches, the Department of Homeland Security declared state voting infrastructure as critical infrastructure. Some states have called that designation a federal overreach and have said they have their own capabilities in place to detect or prevent intrusions.

This article first appeared on FCW, a sister site to GCN.

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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