U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) introduced legislation June 14 that would improve collaboration between federal, state, local agencies on cyber threats, as well as reform and strengthen the country’s cybersecurity procedures.
The Cyber Preparedness Act, H.R. 5459 uses ideas proposed at a May cybersecurity hearing chaired by Donovan to improve information sharing between federal, state, and local authorities and to allow homeland security grants to be used for cybersecurity.
“Information sharing and adjustments to grant rules might sound mundane, but defending against cyber-attack requires attention to every detail,” said Donovan.
“The tweaks made in my bill come directly from expert testimony at a hearing last month, and they’ll have a meaningful impact on cyber defenses,” he added.
In the years following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, state and urban law enforcement agencies established “fusion centers” in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security. Fusion centers are physical workplaces that bring together federal, state, and local agencies to share counterterrorism intelligence and information.
Still, state and local law enforcement agencies sometimes do not receive current information from federal authorities about cyber threats, defensive measures, or best practices.
The Department of Homeland Security operates the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to share information among federal agencies.
The Cyber Preparedness Act would allow representatives from state and urban fusion centers to operate out of NCCIC. This would foster improved and more efficient information sharing. The bill also clarifies that homeland security grants can be used to fund state and local cybersecurity initiatives.