Hurd Shapes Legislation to Combat Cyber-Attacks
Washington, DC – Drawing upon expertise learned while in the CIA and building a small cybersecurity firm, U.S. Representative Will Hurd helped usher through legislation to combat cyberattacks. The U.S. House of Representatives advanced another bipartisan bill today with the passage of the H.R. 1731, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act, introduced by Rep Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), Chairman of the Homeland Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies.
“Cybersecurity isn’t just the latest buzzword,” said Hurd, who serves as Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “It’s a serious issue with the potential to impact every American. Cyber attacks are a daily occurrence, affecting our government, U.S. businesses and American citizens. National secrets, proprietary data and personally identifiable information are all at risk due to bad actors seeking to cause maximum harm.”
The legislation gives U.S. companies greater opportunity to share cyber threat data and centralizes the information into the civilian-run National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). Measures are included in the bill to ensure that personal information is stripped before being passed on, protecting the privacy of American citizens.
Three amendments introduced by Hurd were included in the final passage of the bill, including one which will help streamline DHS by authorizing the current program that is used to respond to and mitigate cyber threats. A second amendment, sponsored by every Member of Congress in the San Antonio, Texas area would formalize the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium within DHS, which provides cybersecurity training and exercise programs through several universities, including University of Texas at San Antonio.
“The establishment of the consortium is critical for the nation, not just UTSA,” said Dr. Greg White, a professor specializing in computer and information security at the University of Texas San Antonio. "The nation needs an entity that states and communities can turn to for help in building viable and sustainable cyber security programs. This is a mission at which UTSA has been at the forefront since 2002."
A third amendment, which was adopted unanimously, was added to the bill last week to ensure small and medium sized businesses have the same access to DHS cybersecurity resources that large firms currently enjoy. “I spent four years helping to build a small cybersecurity firm, so I know firsthand the issues they face. We need to make sure they have the resources they need, and this amendment will help. These small businesses work hard and contribute a great deal to the fight against cyber terror and their efforts benefit everyone,” Hurd stated.
Though President Obama threatened to veto similar legislation from the House of Representatives in the last Congress, the White House has indicated support for current efforts. “Cyberattacks are an issue of national security. I encourage the Senate to take up this legislation and put it on the President’s desk for his signature,” concluded Hurd.
*Videos of Rep. Hurd’s floor remarks regarding this legislation and his amendments are also available.