Bipartisan Bill Tracks Cyber Capabilities in National Guard and Reserves

Feb 14, 2017 Issues: Armed Services, Cybersecurity

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), joined by Representatives Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Susan Davis (D-CA), and Mike Coffman (R-CO), today introduced the Department of Defense Emergency Response Capabilities Database Enhancement Act, legislation that would require National Guard and Reserve forces to track cyber capabilities. This is a companion bill to legislation introduced by Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Deb Fischer (R-NE).

“During a time of crisis, it is imperative that we have the ability to call upon our cyber warriors in the National Guard and the Reserves at a moment’s notice. The men and women who serve in the Guard and Reserves often have critical expertise in their civilian careers, especially in cybersecurity and technology, and tracking their skills is essential if we are to tap into and utilize that talent,” said Langevin, the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, who is also a senior member of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees. “I have great respect for the work the Department of Defense has done on this issue, and it is time that we formalize this capability in order to strengthen our cyber defenses.”

This legislation builds upon work previously done by the Department of Defense and would require the Department to add cybersecurity as a category to an existing database that tracks the specialties and capabilities – such as engineering or aviation – of National Guard and Reserve service members.

“It is imperative we utilize all resources at our disposal in a coordinated, sustained response to defend our nation against daily cyber attacks from hostile actors at home and abroad. Tapping into the existing expertise and capabilities of our National Guard and Reserve units in cybersecurity will strengthen our response to the latest assaults on our national security,” said LoBiondo, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“The cybersecurity threat to our nation continues to build,” said Davis, a senior member of House Armed Services Committee. “We need to properly organize and utilize all of our resources including servicemembers in the Guard and Reserve. Servicemembers bring unique additional capabilities to our cybersecurity fight. I am glad to join my colleagues in formalizing our ability to leverage these talents when we need them most.”

“Today, we have introduced in the House a bipartisan bill, aimed at enhancing the Department of Defense’s ability to track critical cyber capabilities and skills possessed by members of the National Guard and Reserves,” said Coffman. “In a world of ever increasing cyber threats, we cannot rely only on those on active duty to fight these new battles. We need to take advantage of the skills so many of our Guard and Reserve personnel have who work in ‘cyber space’ in their civilian jobs to help defend our nation.”