Peters Bipartisan Legislation to Ensure National Cyber Director Can Secure Personnel to Help Bolster Cybersecurity Passes Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) that would help ensure the newly created Office of the National Cyber Director (NCD) will be able to quickly secure qualified personnel to support its important cybersecurity mission has passed the Senate. The NCD is a brand new position tasked with coordinating the implementation of national cybersecurity policy and strategy. With cyber-attacks increasing in both scope and consequence, it is crucial to provide the National Cyber Director the people necessary to accomplish this important mission. This legislation addresses urgent personnel needs by permitting the NCD to bring in detailees from other agencies on a non-reimbursable basis to fulfill cybersecurity missions. The bill passed with unanimous support.

“As our nation continues to face hostile and harmful acts of cyber-attacks from foreign adversaries and criminal organizations – our federal government must have sufficient resources and personnel to address this crisis head on.” said Senator Peters. “I was proud to lead to the charge to create the National Cyber Director position and confirm its first leader. Now that this important bill has unanimously passed the Senate – I’ll continue fighting to ensure it becomes law so we can provide the Administration with the necessary tools and professionals to help the National Cyber Director protect the American people from cybersecurity threats.”

“I applaud my Senate colleagues for unanimously passing this bipartisan legislation because it is important that the new Office of the National Cyber Director be allowed to be staffed as soon as possible, especially as our nation is increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks,” said Senator Portman. “National Cyber Director Inglis is tasked with coordinating the implementation of national cyber policy and strategy and it is crucial that he be able to bring on staff. This bipartisan legislation will ensure the NCD can quickly bring on experts from other federal agencies to develop national cyber policies that best protect federal networks, data, and critical infrastructure.”

“Equipping the National Cyber Director with qualified staff strengthens America’s ability to protect itself against increasingly frequent cyber-attacks, helping ensure Arizona families, employers, and communities stay safe and secure,” said Senator Sinema.

“The newly-created National Cyber Director position is vital to coordinating America’s cyberdefenses, and I believe Chris Inglis is the right man for the job – but I also know that he can’t do it alone. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to, because this evening the Senate passed legislation to provide his office with specialists that will bring vital resources and expertise,” said Senator King. “Any good field general needs troops and a team to execute the mission, and as we confront global cyberthreats and ransomware criminals, we must ensure that Director Inglis has the tools and capability to protect our society, economy, and nation from those seeking to do us harm. Today’s legislation is a good first step, and I will continue advocating for resources that allow the Office of the NCD to fulfill its mission.”

“Now more than ever, Congress must bolster the United States’ capabilities to respond to cyber-attacks,” said Senator Rounds. “Last year, we worked to successfully establish the National Cyber Director position which is dedicated to strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity.  Having a fully staffed and operational office for the National Cyber Director is vital to address current and emerging threats. I am glad to cosponsor this bill to help make certain the National Cyber Director has the personnel needed to fulfill this critical mission.”

As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has led efforts to bolster our nation’s cybersecurity defenses. Peters convened a hearing with the Chief Executive Officer of Colonial Pipeline to examine a recent ransomware attack against the company. A provision authored by Peters to increase our government’s ability to quickly respond to cyber-attacks passed the Senate as part of a larger package to boost American competitiveness on the global stage. As a part of the American Rescue Plan Act, Peters helped secure nearly $2 billion to modernize and secure information systems critical to the federal pandemic response. In April, the Senate also passed his provision to help protect our nation’s public water infrastructure technology systems, following recent cyber-attacks on water utilities. Two pieces of legislation authored by Peters to enhance cybersecurity guidance for K-12 educational institutions across the country and secure federal information technology supply chains against cybersecurity threats and other vulnerabilities have advanced in the Senate.