In a move to strengthen the United States’ cybersecurity posture, Sens. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., introduced the Cybersecurity Competitions to Yield Better Efforts to Research the Latest Exceptionally Advanced Problems (CYBER LEAP) Act of 2020.
The legislation, introduced today, would direct the Secretary of Commerce to establish “grand challenge” competitions to “achieve high-priority breakthroughs in cybersecurity, including expanding our cybersecurity workforce, defending against artificial intelligence threats, and protecting our nation against cyberattacks.”
The bill would capitalize on existing open innovation authorities to hold the grand challenge. The Secretary of Commerce would be tasked with working with a presidential advisory committee to determine the scope and objectives of such competitions. In terms of funding, the legislation calls for funding to be pooled from multiple Federal agencies and non-Federal entities.
The legislation calls the Secretary of Commerce, in collaboration with other Federal agencies, to establish six grand challenges. The challenges will focus on:
- Economics of a cyberattack – Focused on “building more resilient systems that measurably and exponentially raise adversary costs of carrying out common cyberattacks.”
- Cyber training – Focused on “empowering the people of the United States with an appropriate and measurably sufficient level of digital literacy to make safe and secure decisions online” and “developing a cybersecurity workforce with measurable skills to protect and maintain information systems.”
- Emerging technology – Focused on “advancing cybersecurity efforts in response to emerging technology, such as artificial intelligence, quantum science, and next-generation communications technologies.”
- Reimagining digital identity – Focused on “maintaining a high sense of usability while improving the security and safety of online activity of individuals in the United States.”
- Federal agency resilience – focused on “reducing cybersecurity risks to Federal networks and systems, and improving the response of Federal agencies to cybersecurity incidents on such networks and systems.”
- Other challenges – Would encompass “such other challenges as the Secretary of Commerce considers appropriate to achieve high-priority breakthroughs in cybersecurity.”
“We put our nation at risk if we don’t invest in our cybersecurity workforce and infrastructure,” said Senator Rosen. “As our world becomes more digitized, I’m proud to help introduce this bill to assist our nation in developing a cybersecurity workforce with the skills needed to protect and maintain information systems and improve critical Federal agencies’ security and safety. I will continue to support forward-thinking legislation that ensures our 21st-century workforce is equipped with next-generation communications technologies to keep our nation safe.”