WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), and the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, announced that the bipartisan Harvesting American Cybersecurity Knowledge through Education (HACKED) Act, which she helped introduced alongside Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and John Thune (R-SD), passed out of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. This legislation would expand and coordinate current federal cybersecurity programs and align education and training with cybersecurity workforce needs.
“Our country is experiencing a shortage in our cybersecurity workforce, and if we don’t act, we risk falling victim to cyber threats,” said Senator Rosen. “This bipartisan legislation makes investments in federal cybersecurity programs and will help us fill the gaps in our cyber-defense. We must continue to prioritize forward-thinking solutions that provide our businesses, communities, and government with the skilled workforce they need to strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure and protect Americans’ data from bad actors. I applaud the committee’s passage of this bipartisan legislation, and I urge the Senate to take up this bill for a vote.”
BACKGROUND: Specifically, the HACKED Act would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director to establish cooperative agreements between the Institute and regional partnerships for cybersecurity education and workforce. These agreements would be required to advance the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Framework and facilitate local and regional partnerships of employers, educational institutions, local government, and community organizations to identify workforce needs in local communities.
Additionally, the bill would:
• Provide grants of up to $200,000 for the regional partnerships, with a priority going to institutions of higher education designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity. Both CSN and UNLV have been designated by the National Security Administration (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.
• Expand the National Science Foundation (NSF) Federal Cyber Scholarship for Service Program (CyberCorps) program by allowing up to 10% of scholarship recipients to fulfill their service obligation as teachers in the field of cybersecurity at qualified institutions of higher education.
• Create several additional grant opportunities in cybersecurity, including in Department of Transportation (DOT) programs. UNLV and UNR have been awarded a University Transportation Center grant, and would be eligible for this new DOT grant to research cybersecurity risks in transportation.
• Increase coordination in federal cyber workforce programs by directing a White House working group to coordinate federal cyber workforce programs and codifying NIST as the agency responsible for leading interagency efforts on such coordination.
In addition to the HACKED Act, Senator Rosen has also introduced the Cyber Ready Workforce Act and the JROTC Cyber Training Act.