Kilmer’s Cyber National Guard Bill Introduced in Senate

Bill’s introduction in Senate opens second avenue for Kilmer’s Major General Tim Lowenberg Act, Continues Washington’s Leadership on Protecting Nation’s Cyber Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, DC.— Late last night, Rep. Derek Kilmer’s bill, the Major General Tim Lowenberg Cyber Defenders Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). The bill’s introduction adds another pathway for success in Kilmer’s yearlong push to protect the nation’s critical state and local infrastructure like voting machines and public utilities from cyberattacks.

“From voting machines to our power grids, states control some of the nation’s most critical infrastructure. That’s why the National Guard is uniquely ready to protect our elections and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks,” Kilmer said. “I am glad to see the bill’s introduction in the Senate. November is coming fast, and it is past time to give other states the ability to follow Washington’s lead so voters can be confident in our election systems.”

The bill’s introduction comes as members of Congress received a classified briefing on election security, and just one week after Kilmer joined lawmakers in challenging the White House’s push to eliminate the position of special assistant to the president and cyber security coordinator. The letter is available for download here.

Yesterday, The Washington Post published a survey in which 95 out of 100 of the nation’s leading cyber security experts believed states are not sufficiently protected against cyberthreats ahead of the midterms.

In that article, Matt Blaze, a cryptographer and computer science professor from the University of Pennsylvania said, “Few if any state and local IT departments are equipped to protect this infrastructure against the full force of a hostile intelligence service, and these systems are very attractive targets for disruption.”

Kilmer believes the National Guard is best equipped to fill the gap.

“States across the nation can benefit from the private sector expertise that weekend warriors bring to the table as members of the National Guard.” Kilmer said. “In Washington, we benefit from the investments companies like Amazon and Microsoft make in their employees when those folks put on a National Guard uniform. These units have the relationships already and can hit the ground running. There’s no time to waste.”

The bill’s introduction in the Senate comes as Congress considers the National Defense Authorization Act.

Kilmer’s bill is named to honor Major General Tim Lowenberg, who led Washington’s National Guard after 9/11 and developed a strong state-level cybersecurity unit long before the nation was focused on it. Maj. Gen. Lowenberg passed away last summer.