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Monday, February 6th, 2023

Biden administration funnels $1B into state and local cybersecurity grant program

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Drawing from funds provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will put up $1 billion for the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program — a first of its kind effort emphasized by the Biden administration.

Funding will be divided over four years, with $185 million made available for the remainder of this fiscal year. Federal money will go toward state and local governments to reduce cybersecurity risks to their information systems, strengthen their critical infrastructure and bolster resilience against persistent threats. Funds will be usable on either new or existing cybersecurity programs.

A 60-day application window opened last week.

“Cyberattacks have emerged as one of the most significant threats to our homeland,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said. “In response, we continue to strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity, including by resourcing state and local communities to build and enhance their cyber defenses. The cybersecurity grant process we are starting today is a vital step forward in this critical effort. Our approach is one of partnership, in the service of an all-of-society investment in the security of our homeland.”

The program represents DHS efforts to improve nationwide understanding of the threats posed by cyberattacks and to reduce risks throughout. In this, it will also draw on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to administer the effort and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) for its capabilities and knowledge.

Applicants could pursue the topic from a variety of fronts, including the creation of critical governance frameworks across states and territories, identifying critical vulnerabilities and the capabilities required to address them, mitigating threats, and building up a modern cyber workforce among local communities. In all, funds will be split up across two funding opportunities: the one for state, local and territorial governments, and a second for Tribes to be released later this fall.

“As the nation’s cyber defense agency, CISA works hand-in-hand with our partners in state, local, and territorial governments who face unique cybersecurity challenges but often lack the resources to address them,” CISA Director Jen Easterly said. “The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program will play a critical role in helping these organizations build their capability and capacity. We encourage all eligible entities to apply for grant funds to protect our critical infrastructure and communities from malicious cyber activity and to grow their partnership with CISA.”