U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy sponsored bill that will let Norwich University and Homeland Security develop cybersecurity readiness programs
President Joe Biden last week signed the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act into law, a measure that had struggled for years to get passed and that will let Norwich University partner with the Homeland Security Department to boost cyberattack preparedness and secure critical anti-cyberattack infrastructure.
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., a longtime advocate of Norwich University's cybersecurity programs, sponsored the bill with U.S. Sen John Cornyn, R-Texas. Versions of the bill had died in committee in 2017 and 2019 before the current measure, introduced in 2021, passed the House of Representatives this month. The bill passed the Senate in a 403-19 vote on March 7.
“With this new law, DHS (the Department of Homeland Security) and NPCP (the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium) will be able to work over multiple years to raise the cyberskills of those they help. Norwich University's great work in cybersecurity can now make even more of a difference.” U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
"Improving our communities' cyber-readiness, response, and recovery in partnership with some of the finest academic institutions in cybersecurity makes sense," Leahy said. "With this new law, DHS and NCPC will be able to work over multiple years to raise the cyber skills of those they help. Norwich University's great work in cybersecurity can now make even more of a difference."
The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium includes Norwich University; the University of Texas, San Antonio; Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service; the University of Arkansas; the University of Memphis; and other university-based training organizations.
Under the new law, the consortium will partner with the Department of Homeland Security to train first responders and state and local government officials on cybersecurity, create information-sharing programs and expand state and local cybersecurity risk and incident prevention and response. The consortium and Homeland Security will also host cybersecurity simulations of emergencies, such as ransomware or digital attacks, for infrastructure owners, private industry officials and state and local governments.
"Norwich University has been a proud partner of The NCPC for close to 10 years, providing easily accessible training for local jurisdictions, states, counties, and national agencies," Norwich University Vice President for Strategic Partnerships Phil Susmann said. "With the steadfast efforts of Senator Leahy to ensure the continued work of the NCPC, Norwich will continue to provide training that is critical to meeting the evolving challenges of fighting cyberthreats and supporting efforts to reduce and manage critical infrastructure risks."
In a statement, Cornyn said, "We've already seen an increase in cyberattacks during Russia's war with Ukraine, and this kind of warfare will only become more common in the future. This legislation, now law, will help us prepare our critical infrastructure for cyberattacks at every level of government."
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