Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced the bipartisan Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Expansion Act on Thursday. This bicameral legislation aims to strengthen the U.S. cyber defenses and cybersecurity workforce by establishing two new training programs within the federal government. Notably, one of these programs will focus on recruiting veterans for these in-demand jobs.
“Reports of cyber attacks continue to rise, and we must respond accordingly to protect businesses, sensitive personal data, and ultimately our national security,” said Rep. Houlahan. “Security breaches have far-reaching implications – small businesses may have to halt operations, Pennsylvanians could have their identity stolen, or worse. Thankfully, our bipartisan, bicameral bill will help train veterans and other Americans to be the next generation of cyber defense professionals.”
Rep. Gallagher emphasized the urgent need for such initiatives, stating, “There is a crippling shortage of cybersecurity workers that is leaving private companies and the federal government increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats. By creating programs that provide veterans with the skills they need to help protect this country in the cyber domain, this bill is an innovative way to bolster our nation’s cyber defenses and strengthen the federal cyber workforce while giving veterans an opportunity to continue serving their country.”
The Future of Defense Task Force’s final report, on which Rep. Houlahan served, underscored the need for a 21st-century workforce with the required skills and talent to maintain the U.S.’ strategic advantage. The report concluded that attracting and retaining a diverse group of technical talent is crucial to the U.S. remaining competitive in evolving defense apparatuses.
The Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Expansion Act plans to establish:
- A cybersecurity registered apprenticeship program within the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
- A pilot program within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide cybersecurity training to veterans
U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Senate companion bill earlier this year. Rep. Houlahan had previously introduced this bill in the last Congress alongside former Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).