WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) alongside Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Ken Calvert (R-CA) announced their introduction of the Civilian Cyber Security Reserve Act. This bipartisan and bicameral legislation would establish a pilot Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve program to provide the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with cybersecurity-trained civilian personnel — with prior Federal Government or uniformed services experience — to ensure the U.S. Government has the talent needed to address cyber vulnerabilities and keep our nation safe, especially at times of greatest need.
“The recent, unprecedented cyber-attacks targeting the United States demonstrate the risks of not addressing our severe cyber workforce shortage. As cybersecurity threats continue to grow in scale, frequency, and sophistication, it’s critical that we find innovative solutions to address this deficiency,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to ensure the Federal Government has the cyber experts needed to quickly respond to threats, especially when our nation is under attack. I thank Senator Blackburn for joining me in introducing this legislation in the Senate and am grateful for Representatives Panetta and Calvert for their leadership on the bill in the House.”
“The complexity of the cyber domain creates the need for mission-capable personnel ready to confront these new challenges. Creating a reserve corps similar to our National Guard or Army Reserve will allow our national security agencies to have access to the qualified, capable, and service-oriented American talent necessary to respond when an attack occurs. The Civilian Cyber Security Reserve Pilot project represents a big step in strengthening America’s cybersecurity posture,” said Senator Blackburn.
“Our nation’s homeland security relies on preventing and responding to cyber vulnerabilities, but we lack the total necessary federal workforce needed to fully address these risks,” said Congressman Panetta. “My bipartisan, bicameral bill would establish a well-equipped cyber security reserve program to address national security challenges. I am proud to introduce this legislation today to secure our cyber and homeland security. I thank Congressman Calvert, Senator Rosen, and Senator Blackburn for joining me in this effort.”
“Cyber-attacks and national security emergencies can strike without warning and cause widespread disruption,” said Congressman Calvert. “Having access to additional qualified and pre-screened individuals with technical skills in these times of need can provide tremendous benefits. That’s why I’m proud to join together with my colleagues in bringing forward the Civilian Cyber Security Reserve Act.”
BACKGROUND: The bipartisan Civilian Cyber Security Reserve Act is modeled after a recommendation from the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service report to establish a civilian cyber reserve corps. According to the report, “A reserve program that permits agencies to call up cybersecurity experts could ensure additional cyber capacity at times of greatest need. By building the reserve program around cybersecurity experts who have left Government service for other opportunities, the program would also help the Government to maximize the value of taxpayer investment in developing their expertise.”
Under the bill, agency heads would appoint Civilian Cybersecurity Reservists to temporary positions as Federal civil service employees to supplement existing agency cybersecurity personnel. All members of the Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve would have to have an active security clearance, in accordance with Federal law relating to the handling of classified information. Participation in the Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve would be voluntary and by invitation only and would not include members of the military Selected Reserve.