April 28, 2016


Washington, D.C. – Today the House Homeland Security Committee passed H.R. 4743, The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act, a bill introduced by Congressmen Joaquin Castro (TX-20). The legislation allows non-profit entities, including universities, to work more closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to address cybersecurity risks and incidents at the state and local level.

“Cyber attacks are becoming more prevalent and increasingly complex each day,” said Rep. Castro. “The cyber threat doesn’t just affect big corporations and the federal government – it affects folks at the local level too. This bill will allow communities to learn from our nation’s best cyber experts as they ensure local first responders are equipped to defend against and respond to cyber attacks. I’m thrilled that the Homeland Security Committee moved this legislation one step closer to a vote in the full House of Representatives.” 

The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium’s (NCPC) work to improve communities’ cyber defenses served as the inspiration for Rep. Castro’s legislation. The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is a leader of the NCPC. 

Specifically, this legislation would authorize DHS to work with consortiums to: 

  • Provide training, develop and update curriculum, and provide technical assistance to State and local first responders and officials specifically for preparing for and responding to cybersecurity risks and incidents;
  • Conduct cross-sector cybersecurity training and simulation exercises for entities, including State and local governments, critical infrastructure owners and operators, and private industry, to encourage community-wide coordination in defending against and responding to cybersecurity risks and incidents; 
  • Help States and communities develop cybersecurity information sharing programs for the dissemination of homeland security information related to cybersecurity risks and incidents; and
  • Help States incorporate cybersecurity risk and incident prevention and response into existing State and local emergency plans. 

“Our city is a leader in the cybersecurity industry, and UTSA is doing tremendous work at the forefront of the field,” added Rep. Castro. “Providing DHS with the opportunity to draw from the expertise of institutions like UTSA will enhance our nation’s ability to improve its cybersecurity preparedness. In today’s technology-reliant world, protecting our digital assets is absolutely critical.”

The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act also requires DHS to conduct outreach to universities and colleges, including historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other minority-serving institutions, regarding opportunities to support DHS efforts to address cybersecurity risks and incidents.