Reps. Andy Kim, D-N.J., and Joe Wilson, R-S.C., introduced bipartisan legislation on May 4 that would strengthen states’ cybersecurity readiness and allow governors to deploy their state’s National Guard to respond to cybersecurity threats.

Currently, governors have to go through the Department of Defense to deploy their National Guard cyber protection teams. The National Guard Cybersecurity Support Act would give governors the power to deploy on their own, and allow states to quickly respond to cybersecurity threats against government programs and information systems.

“Being ready to tackle the next generation of cyber threats requires a defense that can move quickly and decisively. Right now, our governors can’t act with the speed they need to keep our neighbors safe,” Rep. Kim said in a statement. “I’m proud to work together with Congressman Wilson to bring this bipartisan solution forward that will be a gamechanger for our states in fighting back against cyber-attacks. I know we can get this passed into law, and we’re going to work together to make sure our policies match the speed of the threats we face.”

“I am grateful to join Congressman Andy Kim in introducing the National Guard Cybersecurity Support Act to ensure the tremendous men and women of the National Guard are able to support state and local governments and defend their critical infrastructure from cyber-attack,” added Rep. Wilson. “Last year, the Bluffton Township Fire District and Jasper County were the victims of ransomware attacks, which are increasing nationwide. This legislation clarifies existing law to ensure bureaucratic red-tape never stands in the way of our National Guard responding to the interests of South Carolinians.”

Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and John Cornyn, R-Texas.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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