The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report, which passed in the U.S. Senate, includes establishing a Cybersecurity State Coordinator position in every state.
The bill would provide each state with a federally funded Cybersecurity Coordinator, responsible for preventing and responding to cybersecurity threats in the state. The coordinator would work with federal, state, and local governments, as well as schools, hospitals, and other entities.
The legislation, called the Cybersecurity State Coordinator Act, was introduced by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Gary Peters (D-MI). The legislation now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
“Cybersecurity for state and local governments is just as important as efforts at the federal level, and frequently, they lack the resources, technical know-how, and situational awareness to secure their systems, or respond in the event of an attack,” Portman said. “I’m pleased that this bipartisan proposal is included in the Senate-passed NDAA conference report because it will strengthen the cybersecurity relationship between the federal government and state and local governments.”
Two other cybersecurity bills introduced by Portman and Hassan — the Hack Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Act and Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act — were signed into law in 2018.
“Cyberattacks on our hospitals, schools, and local governments are becoming an increasingly common occurrence, especially amid this pandemic. We must provide these entities with the support that they need to prevent and mitigate cyberattacks,” Hassan said. “The Senate took an important step to help bolster cybersecurity at all levels of government by passing our bipartisan measure to create a Cybersecurity Coordinator position in every state as part of the national defense bill. These cyber experts will be a bridge between the federal government and state and local entities, and it is imperative that the President swiftly sign this bipartisan bill into law.”