Senators Introduce Bill to Create 'Cyber Guards'

NGAUS Washington Report

(March 26, 2013) Legislation introduced in the Senate last week would create National Guard cyber response teams in every state and territory. 

The Cyber Warrior Act of 2013, S. 658, establishes cyber and computer network incident response teams, known as Cyber Guards, significantly expanding the Guard's cyber mission.

The bill was introduced March 22 by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Sen. Mark Warner, R-Va. 

The Cyber Guards would be to cyber attacks what the civil support teams and other homeland response units are to responding to weapons of mass destruction. They would provide a scalable response in support of the governors or the defense secretary, depending on the response needed to a cyber emergency.

Under the legislation, governors could call on team members to help train state and local law enforcement and other cyber responders in a network emergency, and help them develop sound best practices that allow more cohesive interaction with federal agencies.

The teams would include both full-time and part-time personnel, thereby leveraging available private-sector IT expertise and experience. 

The bill creates the teams by shifting positions and operations and maintenance funds to the Guard. No new budgetary authority would be created.

NGAUS strongly supports the legislation. The Pentagon opposes it, saying the teams would "drain critical resources from DoD cyber efforts.”