Senators Jacky Rosen and Marsha Blackburn have introduced a pair of bills aimed at creating civilian cyber reserve pilot programs within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. The Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve Act, a legislative package of two bills, is intended to support the federal response to cyber threats and enhance the nation’s cybersecurity workforce. The program would recruit qualified civilian cybersecurity personnel to serve in reserve capacities, ensuring that the US government has the necessary talent to respond to malicious cyber activity. Participation in the programs would be voluntary and by invitation only. The bills match recommendations from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service reports that call for the establishment of a civilian cyber reserve corps. The legislation was previously introduced by Rosen and supported by Blackburn and passed the Senate during the lame-duck session last December, but never received a vote in the House before the end of the 117th Congress.
Tara Wisniewski, EVP of Advocacy, Global Markets and Member Engagement at (ISC)² shared support for the bills and the proposed steps that would strengthen cyber resilience:
"Large-scale cybersecurity events and attacks will happen, and the public and private sectors must prepare accordingly for when the disaster strikes. I commend Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) for introducing the Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve Act, as it enables the U.S. to take proactive steps toward cyber resilience. With a cybersecurity workforce gap of more than 436,000 in the U.S., having individuals on hand in reserve capacities can ensure that we effectively mitigate and address the cybersecurity threats at play – ultimately keeping our nation secure. However, as we continue to look for more ways to prepare for the inevitable, it will be essential for the federal government to work towards recruiting and retaining more qualified cybersecurity professionals to keep up with the evolving threat landscape."