The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 14 voted to approve the Civilian Cyber Security Reserve Act which would establish a pilot program to create a civilian reserve of cybersecurity experts that could be deployed to the Federal government as “surge capacity” in the event of significant security incidents.

The bill would allow activated cybersecurity reservists to serve in temporary positions for up to six months as Federal civil service employees that would supplement the government’s existing cybersecurity personnel.  Participation in the program would be voluntary, and by invitation only, according to the office of Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., who is sponsoring the bill along with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

“With federal agencies experiencing a consistent shortage of cyber talent and the United States facing unprecedented cyberattacks, maintaining a surge capacity is critical to keeping our nation safe,” Sen. Rosen said, adding that the bill “will ensure that the federal government is able to mobilize qualified civilian cybersecurity personnel in times of crisis.”

The bill, which matches with a recommendation from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, now goes to the full Senate for consideration. It does not appear to have companion legislation in the House.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.