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

WASHINGTON, DC – A provision authored by U.S. 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 been signed into law as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“The federal government needs qualified professionals to help lead our response to relentless cyber-attacks and defend against foreign adversaries and cybercriminals who target our networks,” said Senator Peters. “This important bipartisan effort will ensure the National Cyber Director, a position I was proud to help create, has the personnel to more effectively address the cybersecurity threats to our nation.” 

“I’m pleased this bipartisan legislation has been signed into law as a part of the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act so that the new Office of the National Cyber Director can 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 now that the NDAA has been signed into law, his office will have needed resources to recruit and retain the specialists he needs,” 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. This year’s NDAA 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.

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