WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Senator Todd Young (R-IN) announced their introduction of S.4598, the Small Manufacturer Cybersecurity Enhancement Act. This bipartisan legislation would authorize the Department of Defense to provide financial assistance to Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers for cybersecurity services to help small manufacturers in the defense supply chain. Bipartisan companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) earlier this year.

“Cyber vulnerabilities in the defense supply chain, especially for small manufacturers, are a growing national security threat,” said Senator Rosen. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that would provide resources so that defense manufacturers can protect themselves from the threat of cyber attacks. I will continue working in Congress to ensure that our businesses and the United States Government are prepared to address current and future cyber threats.”

“America’s critical defense industrial base is under a constant cyber threat from our adversaries, and the burden of defending against these threats is heaviest on small businesses,” said Senator Young. “I’m proud to support this legislation to enable Indiana businesses in the defense supply chain, which employ tens of thousands of Hoosiers, to meet needed cybersecurity requirements and lower barriers of entry for aspiring industry leaders from across the state. In Indiana, this bill will allow the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to build upon the valuable work it is already doing to bring more small businesses into compliance with federal cybersecurity standards.”

“Our national security is heavily reliant on eliminating cyber vulnerabilities in the defense supply chain,” said Congressman Panetta (D-CA). “MEP Centers, public-private partnerships located in all 50 states, are uniquely positioned to assist small businesses with cybersecurity requirements and have worked closely with the Pentagon to bolster defense supply chain resiliency. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will enhance the work of MEP Centers so they can continue to provide cybersecurity assistance to our nation’s small manufacturers supporting our national defense.”

“This important legislation will provide much-needed assistance to small defense manufacturers with cyber compliance and enhance cybersecurity throughout our defense supply chain by expanding DOD’s cyber initiatives with MEP Centers,” said Congressman Wilson (R-SC). “The MEP National Network is ideally situated to assist the Department to help strengthen our national defense. I am grateful to support this bipartisan, bicameral effort and would like to thank Representative Jimmy Panetta for joining me in introducing this important bill in the House and Senators Rosen and Young for introducing in the Senate.”

“Cybersecurity threats to our defense supply chain continue to be a national security issue, given the thousands of manufacturing firms involved,” said Carrie Hines, President and CEO of the American Small Manufacturers Coalition. “This bill will enhance the Department of Defense’s continued work with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network. MEP is the only national program equipped to provide the cybersecurity and technical assistance services these defense suppliers require, especially the small manufacturers that make up a substantial portion of the national defense industrial base. The American Small Manufacturers Coalition is grateful for the leadership of Senators Rosen and Young for introducing this bill. It will undoubtedly secure and strengthen the country’s national defense industrial base.”

BACKGROUND: The Small Manufacturer Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (S.4598) authorizes the Department of Defense to provide financial assistance to Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers for cybersecurity services to help small manufacturers in the defense supply chain. This assistance can be used to promote awareness, assessment, evaluation, preparation, and implementation of cybersecurity services; achieve compliance with cybersecurity requirements; and hire trained personnel. This provision was included in both the House and Senate FY21 NDAA bills.

Nevada is home to an MEP Center, the Nevada Industry Excellence (NVIE), which helped contribute to $80 million in sales for Nevada in FY19. NVIE helps Nevada’s industrial companies achieve their goals of enhanced productivity, increased profitability, and improved global competitiveness.

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