Congresswoman Schwartz pushes for cybersecurity forces in each state

    Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania is one of five U.S. representatives pushing for creation of a National Guard cybersecurity unit in each state.

    Schwartz co-introduced the Cyber Warrior Act in Washington, D.C., this month.

    “The idea here is to make sure that those who are in the National Guard have the kind of training and expertise to be able to protect us in our states and our nation against cyberthreats,” Schwartz said.

    The bill calls for recruiting and training National Guard members in cybersecurity techniques.

    The guard unit would be called upon as first responders by state and local governments in the case of cyberattacks.

    It would fill a void in the armed forces, said John Goheen, spokesman for the National Guard Association of the United States.

    “The unfortunate reality is the full-time U.S. military has a hard time attracting and retaining cyber-expertise in its ranks,” Goheen said. “That’s where the guard could come in.”

    “Legislators are hoping it is easier to attract highly skilled cyberwarriors to part-time military service. They also hope to give more training to specialists who are already serving in the guard.

    The House bill is a companion to the Cyber Warrior Act introduced in the Senate in March. It is still in committee.

    Even if the bill passes into law, at least one expert worried the guard wouldn’t have the money to carry out the recruiting and training required to fulfill the legislation.

    The number of cybersecurity incidents at federal agencies has jumped eightfold since 2006.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal