Peters, Portman Bipartisan Provision to Provide Staffing for National Cyber Director to Improve Cybersecurity Policy Passes Senate as Part of Annual Defense Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – A provision authored by U. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, as well as Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, and Mike Rounds (R-SD) to authorize non-reimbursable detailees for the Office of the National Cyber Director (NCD) has passed the Senate as a part of next year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“The federal government needs a comprehensive strategy to defend and fight back against foreign adversaries and cybercriminals who continue attacking American networks,” said Senator Peters. “That is why I was proud to help create the National Cyber Director position and confirm its first leader to help lead a more centralized approach to cybersecurity policy. This important provision will provide this new Office with the necessary professionals to help the National Cyber Director bolster online defenses across this nation.”

“I’m pleased the Senate passed this bipartisan legislation as a part of the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act because the new Office of the National Cyber Director must be allowed to be staffed as soon as possible, especially as our nation is increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks,” 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.”

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 with the people necessary to accomplish this important mission. This provision addresses urgent personnel needs by permitting the NCD to bring in detailees from other agencies on a non-reimbursable basis to fulfill the NCD’s cybersecurity mission.

As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has led efforts to increase our nation’s cybersecurity defenses. His bill to enhance cybersecurity assistance to K-12 educational institutions across the country was signed into law. Peters secured several provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure law to bolster cybersecurity – including $100 million fund to help victims of a serious attack recover quickly. Peters’ bills to bolster federal cybersecurity and require critical infrastructure owners and operators to report to CISA if they experience a cyber-attack, and other organizations to notify the federal government if they make a ransom payment have advanced in the Senate.