Wicker, Cantwell, Thune, Rosen Introduce the HACKED Act

The legislation would increase resources and pathways for an expanded cybersecurity workforce

November 5, 2019

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, with Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet and Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., introduced “The Harvesting American Cybersecurity Knowledge through Education (HACKED) Act.” This legislation would strengthen America’s cybersecurity workforce in both the public and private sectors by bolstering existing science education and cybersecurity programs within the National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Transportation.

“Cybersecurity risks are constant in the growing digital world. It is critical that the United States stay ahead of malicious cyber activity with a workforce that can safeguard our innovation, research, and work environments,” said Wicker. “This legislation is an important first step to expand the cybersecurity workforce and provide tools to support necessary education and training.”

“In a world dominated by the internet and digital technology, a robust network of cybersecurity professionals is critical to America’s national security and economic prosperity,” said Thune. “The HACKED Act would bolster partnerships between local employers and universities on cybersecurity education and workforce needs and require greater coordination between federal agencies on cybersecurity training and workforce development. This legislation would build upon the important work being done by universities across the nation – including in South Dakota – to prepare and sustain a strong, talented, and much-needed national cybersecurity workforce.” 

“America is facing serious cyber threats every day in today’s increasingly connected world, yet there is a serious shortage of workers needed to confront this urgent challenge,” said Cantwell. There are currently 300,000 vacancies in our cyber workforce nationwide—including 6300 in my home state of Washington. The bipartisan HACKED Act of 2019 would help address this by training cybersecurity educators and skilling American workers to do these jobs, as well as increasing coordination on these issues throughout the government.”

“Our country is experiencing a shortage in our cybersecurity workforce, and if we don’t act, we risk falling victim to cyber threats,” said Rosen. “This legislation makes investments in federal cybersecurity programs and will help us fill the gaps in our cyber-defense. We must continue to prioritize forward-thinking solutions that provide our businesses, communities, and government with the skilled workforce they need to strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure and protect Americans’ data from bad actors.”

The HACKED Act would:

  • Incentivize recruitment of cybersecurity educators.
  • Align education and training with the cybersecurity workforce needs.
  • Design clear paths in the cybersecurity workforce for cybersecurity professionals to advance their careers.
  • Improve cybersecurity awareness guidelines for federal agencies.
  • Increase coordination in federal cybersecurity workforce programs through a new Office of Science and Technology Policy working group.

Click here to see the full bill.