Senators introduce cybersecurity workforce expansion bill

Senators introduce cybersecurity workforce expansion bill

Four members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee from both sides of the aisle introduced a bill Tuesday to expand America's cybersecurity workforce.

The Harvesting American Cybersecurity Knowledge through Education Act would enhance existing science education and cybersecurity programs in the National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Department of Transportation.

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It would do so by incentivizing the recruitment of educators in the field, designing clear paths for professionals and increasing coordination between the agencies listed above.

“Cybersecurity risks are constant in the growing digital world. It is critical that the United States stay ahead of malicious cyber activity with a workforce that can safeguard our innovation, research, and work environments,” committee Chairman Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: INOVIO R&D Chief Kate Broderick 'completely confident' world will develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine; GOP boxed in on virus negotiations Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers zero in on Twitter after massive hack | US, UK, Canada allege Russian hackers targeted COVID-19 vaccine researchers | Top EU court rules data transfer deal with the US is illegal Lawmakers zero in on Twitter following massive hack MORE (R-Miss.) said in a statement.

“This legislation is an important first step to expand the cybersecurity workforce and provide tools to support necessary education and training,” he added.

“America is facing serious cyber threats every day in today’s increasingly connected world, yet there is a serious shortage of workers needed to confront this urgent challenge,” said Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mike Roman says 3M on track to deliver 2 billion respirators globally and 1 billion in US by end of year; US, Pfizer agree to 100M doses of COVID-19 vaccine that will be free to Americans Overnight Energy: Supreme Court reinstates fast-track pipeline permit except for Keystone XL | Judge declines to reverse Dakota Access Pipeline shutdown OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' report | Climate change erases millennia of cooling: study | Senate nixes proposal limiting Energy Department's control on nuclear agency budget MORE (D-Wash.). "There are currently 300,000 vacancies in our cyber workforce nationwide."

Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock MORE (R-S.D.) and Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenDemocrats call for expedited hearing for Trump's public lands nominee Democrats call for McConnell to bring Voting Rights Act to floor in honor of Lewis US lawmakers call on EU to label entire Hezbollah a terrorist organization MORE (D-Nev.) also introduced the bill.

Similar legislation, the Cyber Ready Workforce Act, was introduced in both chambers earlier this year but remains in committees. That bill would direct the Department of Labor to award grants that help create and expand cyber apprenticeship programs.