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Senators introduce legislation to boost cyber defense training in high school
A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced legislation to increase cybersecurity training for U.S. high school students involved in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) in an effort to increase overall cyber defense training.
The JROTC Cyber Training Act would direct the secretary of Defense to create a program to enhance the preparation of JROTC high school students for military or civilian careers in cybersecurity and computer science, including internship or research opportunities and funding for training.
The bill is sponsored by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).
According to Rosen's office, the bill has the potential to bring computer science and cybersecurity training to 500,000 students nationwide at 3,400 schools with JROTC programs.
Rosen said in a statement that it is "pivotal that we take concrete steps to increase the number of individuals trained in the field of cybersecurity," adding that she will "continue working on forward-thinking solutions" that bolster both national defense and cybersecurity training for the armed forces.
Blackburn noted that "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."
Multiple education organizations have endorsed the bill, including The College Board, the Computer Science Teachers Organization, the National Girls Collaborative Project, and Code.org.
A companion bill was introduced in the House last month by Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas), Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.). It has been referred to the House Armed Services Committee.