Stronger focus on creating a trained workforce to thwart high-tech threats, increased frequency of national cyber-reviews, and the development of a workforce plan to address skill deficiencies and an analysis of barriers to recruitment of cybersecurity professionals are among the changes introduced over the August recess to the cybersecurity legislation by Senate Commerce Chairman John (Jay) Rockefeller and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
Though the revisions have not yet been approved, they incorporate excellent feedback to this important legislation. As a nation, we simply do not have enough qualified cybersecurity experts within law enforcement, government bodies, and companies to effectively combat the mounting threats against our infrastructure, and this legislation is an excellent step towards changing this shortfall.
Also encouraging, is that even in these difficult economic times the original bill’s provision of a National Science Foundation scholarship program is preserved, and that significant funding is set aside for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to conduct competitions to woo students into cybersecurity careers.
Another alteration to the bill is the curtailment of what was a highly contentious provision, which had the potential to give the White House the authority to effectively turn off the Internet during a cyber crisis. The redrafted proposal directs the president to work with the industry during cyber emergencies on a national response as well as the timely restoration of affected networks.
The significant and escalating threats to our economy, infrastructure, and safety demand a strong response, and shift in course that this legislation, if appropriately crafted, will begin to address.