WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, alongside Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Gary Peters (D-MI), announced the introduction of S. 2154, the bipartisan JROTC Cyber Training Act, legislation that would direct the Secretary of Defense to carry out a program to enhance the preparation of students in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) for careers in computer science and cybersecurity. Identical bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), and was included in the House NDAA.
“To meet our nation’s growing cyber-defense needs, it is pivotal that we take concrete steps to increase the number of individuals trained in the field of cybersecurity,” said Senator Rosen. “This bipartisan legislation will create a framework where JROTC cadets will become best prepared to address cyber-threats against our country. I will continue working on forward-thinking solutions that strengthen our nation’s defenses, and provide critical educational skills to our armed forces.”
“Part of rebuilding our nation’s military is investing in our future servicemen and women,” said Senator Blackburn. “By providing funding for high school training in areas such as computer science and cybersecurity, we can ensure that the next generation in uniform is prepared for the future of combat.”
“Texas high school students interested in serving their country should be given opportunities to prepare for a career in the military,” said Senator Cornyn. “By making internships and training in cybersecurity available to JROTC cadets, we can develop strong leaders to fill the growing number of computer science-related jobs in the military.”
“Cybersecurity is essential to our national security. As we live in an increasingly interconnected world, it is critical that we have a workforce with the skills needed to prevent and combat cyber-attacks,” said Senator Peters. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort to support Michigan’s JROTC programs and strengthen computer science and cybersecurity education as a key component of training.”
BACKGROUND: There are 35 high schools in Nevada with JROTC programs, with over 3,000 student members.
By 2026, the Department of Labor projects there will be 3.5 million computing-related jobs, yet our current education pipeline will only fill 19% of those openings.
The bipartisan JROTC Cyber Training Act would direct the Secretary of Defense to carry out a program to enhance the preparation of high school students in JROTC for military and civilian careers in computer science and cybersecurity. This bill tasks the Secretary of Defense to create activities such as: targeted internships and cooperative research opportunities, as well as funding for training with emphasis on computer science and cybersecurity education.
This bill has the potential to bring evidence-based computer science and cybersecurity education to 500,000 students at 3,400 JROTC high schools across the U.S.
This legislation has been endorsed by national computer science education organizations including AnitaB.org, Code.org, the College Board, Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), CSforALL, the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT).