The House of Representatives approved a pair of bills May 10 to bolster Federal cybersecurity by creating a Federal cybersecurity rotational workforce program and developing a training program for Federal officials with supply chain risk management responsibilities.

The pair of bills – the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act and the Supply Chain Security Training Act – are already approved by the Senate – making their next stop at President Biden’s desk for his signature.

The House approved both bills on voice vote with ample bipartisan support.

Cyber Rotational Workforce Bill

The Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program would create a program to allow Federal cybersecurity employees to work across multiple Federal agencies, expanding their skills and networks.

The bill was introduced in April 2021 by Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and passed the Senate in December 2021.

“As we have seen, cyber-attacks pose a significant threat to our national and economic security and will only continue to grow more sophisticated. That is why we need a highly skilled Federal cybersecurity workforce that will enhance our nation’s ability to fight back against online threats from foreign adversaries and criminal hackers for years to come,” Sen. Peters said in a release this week after the House vote.

The bill was also included in Senate’s United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which is currently being conferenced with the House’s America COMPETES Act, but its passage as a standalone bill in both chambers has allowed it to reach the doorstep of becoming law without waiting on action with the larger legislative package.

“Now that this commonsense legislation has passed the House, I urge the President to sign it into law as soon as possible so we can provide Federal cybersecurity professionals with additional opportunities to learn how to defend networks from complicated and evolving threats,” Sen. Peters said.

Supply Chain Security Training

The other piece of legislation now heading to President Biden’s desk, the Supply Chain Security Training Act, would create a cybersecurity training program for Federal employees responsible for the purchasing of services or equipment.

The bill would create a program designed to educate Federal employees – including those in the legislative, judicial, and executive branches – about supply chain risk management and risks throughout the acquisition cycle. The goal of the training would be to mitigate potential supply chain security risks in Federal acquisitions.

The bill was introduced by Sens. Peters and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and passed the Senate in January.

“Counterintelligence training for Federal workers who buy and sell goods and services for the government is critical, especially at a time when our adversaries are aggressively and persistently attempting to breach our systems and steal information,” Sen. Johnson said. “This is essential training that will help close a potential gap in our cyber and physical security defenses.”

The training program would be created by the General Services Administration, with coordination from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, as well as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The bill also directs OMB to create guidance for how Federal agencies adopt, use, and select employees to participate in the training.

“This bipartisan legislation will help Federal employees deter foreign adversaries and criminal hackers from taking advantage of vulnerabilities in newly purchased technology to breach Federal systems and disrupt our supply chains,” Sen. Peters said this week. “I applaud my colleagues in the House for passing this bill and look forward to seeing President Biden sign it into law.”

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.