March 15, 2016


Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) introduced legislation to strengthen America’s cyber defenses. The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act of 2016 would give the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authority to formally establish the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC) within DHS. The consortium – led by the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) – will address unique issues related to cybersecurity on the state and local level, serving as the lead entity within DHS for cybersecurity training and technical assistance for states and local first responders and officials.
“San Antonio is a national cybersecurity leader, and UTSA is doing tremendous, cutting-edge work in the field,” said Rep. Castro. “As cyber threats become increasingly prevalent and complex, we must ensure we’re one step ahead of those who would carry out attacks against our nation. This bill will allow the NCPC to lead the charge in bolstering communities’ cybersecurity preparedness.” 
The NCPC works to provide state and local communities with the tools they need to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from cyberattacks as they would any other disaster or emergency situation. The Consortium evaluates communities’ cybersecurity posture and provides them with a roadmap to correct deficiencies. 
Each NCPC member has conducted training and exercises in numerous communities and states throughout the country. Current membership includes: The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University, The University of Arkansas System, The University of Memphis, and Norwich University (Vermont).
This legislation will enable the NCPC to:

  • Expand the number of communities the Consortium is able to reach; 
  • Allow for more sustainable and coordinated cybersecurity training and exercise programs; and
  • Ensure the continued availability of courses that members have developed and refined over the years. 

“So many aspects of our day-to-day lives rely on technology that could be devastated by a targeted cyber attack. Improving our digital defenses at every level of society is of paramount importance,” added Rep. Castro. “With UTSA’s continued leadership and innovation, communities across the country will be better equipped to protect against and effectively respond to cyber threats.”
The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act was originally offered as a bipartisan amendment to H.R.1731, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act, and passed by voice vote.