Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., introduced bipartisan legislation on July 1 that would create a cyber training program for Federal employees, aimed to help protect the Federal government against cyberattacks and supply chain security vulnerabilities.

The Supply Chain Security Training Act would create a training program for Federal employees who are responsible for purchasing services or equipment, helping them to identify products that pose a risk to the United States’ national security.

“Recent attacks against American networks show that our foreign adversaries and criminal organizations will stop at nothing to breach Federal networks, steal information, and compromise our national security,” Sen. Peters said in a statement. “Federal employees need to know how to recognize possible threats when they are purchasing software and equipment that could allow bad actors a back door into government information systems. This bill will help strengthen national security by safeguarding against cybersecurity vulnerabilities and other threats posed by the technology our government uses.”

The legislation would direct the General Services Administration, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop the supply chain security training program. OMB would also be responsible for selecting Federal employees to participate in the program, and developing guidance for Federal agencies regarding the program.

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

This bill would build upon President Biden’s recent cybersecurity executive order, which calls on the Federal government to modernize IT infrastructure and security concepts and practices. The executive order also urged the Federal government to invest in both technology and personnel to meet these goals.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.