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US passes bills to foreground national cybersecurity

The U.S. federal government has passed two bipartisan bills that foreground cybersecurity at national, state and local levels. 

President Biden signed into law the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2021, which establishes a federal rotational cyber workforce program for the federal cyber workforce; and the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2021, which requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase collaboration with state, local, tribal and territorial governments on cybersecurity issues.

The Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2021 creates a rotating program for cybersecurity and information technology (IT) positions across federal agencies.

“By signing two new bipartisan bills into law, the Biden Administration emphasizes that cybersecurity is a main-stage issue and deserves air time in our crowded political landscape,” said Justin Fier, VP of Tactical Risk and Response at Darktrace.

“These bills mark substantial progress, but no legislation is without faults. While the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act will grant federal cyber professionals valuable transferable skills and diversify their career paths, it also adds to an industry already suffering peak burnout. Hopefully, the focus on interagency collaboration will benefit understaffed cyber departments amidst a globally limited workforce.”

The State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2021 will lead to increased collaboration between DHS and state, local, tribal and territorial governments. DHS will conduct tabletop exercises with government organizations, provide cybersecurity training and promote cyber awareness.

“An extension of ‘Shields Up,’ the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act will affect U.S. cyber defense more immediately,” predicts Fier. “This legislation renews guidance for state and local governments to rely on DHS resources to defend against incoming cyber threats. While some state governments may push back, hoping to keep their resident data decentralized, we will continue to see federal cyber programs trickle down to the state and local levels.”

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