Texas' 23rd district is fortunate to have a robust and rapidly growing cyber sector. From local tech incubators at Port of San Antonio, to cutting-edge cyber military units like the 16th Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio; our district is leading the way in cybersecurity innovation. 

Cyberattacks are a growing threat to our critical infrastructure and national security. As we continue to see from hacks on federal information technology systems and ransomware attacks on essential industries such as energy and health services. A holistic approach to mitigating, disrupting, and deterring cyberattacks is crucial for our national security. 

The shortage of cyber and technical experts in the government workforce has created critical vulnerabilities to the United States digital systems and infrastructure apparatus. The current labor market does have a sufficient number of cyber - trained individuals to meet the security needs of both the private and government sector. Such shortfalls have been widely reported and an expedited solution is necessary to compete with pacing cyber threats such as China and defend against illicit actors such as state-sponsored hacking groups and lonesome cyber criminals. 

That's why I introduced the National Digital Reserve Corps Act, which would establish a civilian reserve consisting of individuals with relevant skills and credentials to address digital and cyber needs across the federal government. This legislation would allow volunteer reservists to sign -up for a three-year period, in which they would work for the federal government for 30 days per calendar year to take on digital and cybersecurity projects, digital education and training, data triage, acquisition assistance, and development of technical solutions. 

Supporting and learning from our international partners on cybersecurity is another way we can strengthen our own cyber resiliency. According to the 2023 National Institute for Defense Studies’ China Security Report, Taiwan sustained 1.4 billion cyberattacks between September 2019 and August 2020, hitting political, economic and military entities in attempts to steal or destroy data. In response to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit in August, 2022, Taiwanese authorities reported an unprecedented amount of cyber-attacks on government websites belonging to the presidential office, foreign and defense ministries as well as infrastructure such as screens at railway stations. Over the last five years, Taiwan has developed organizational structures for mature cyber capabilities. 

My bill, the U.S.-Taiwan Advanced Research Partnership Act of 2023, would strengthen both Taiwanese and U.S. homeland security through bilateral information sharing on incurred cyber incidents while also facilitating joint initiatives to develop enhanced cybersecurity capabilities. This bill allows the Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology, in coordination with the Department of State, to enter into cooperative research programs with Taiwan to strengthen preparedness against cyber threats and enhance capabilities in cybersecurity through the Science and Technology Directorate’s international cooperation program office (ICPO). 

ICPO agreements allow the Department of Homeland Security to collaborate with foreign partners through a variety of joint ventures; such as coordinated or joint homeland security research ventures; access to unique capabilities, resources, or data in foreign test beds, laboratory facilities, or university networks. They can also entail coordinated field exercises; training of scientists and engineers; visits and exchanges of scientists, engineers, or other appropriate officers; exchanges or sharing of scientific and technological information; and joint use of laboratory facilities and equipment. This bill would also require the Under Secretary to report to Congress with a status update on the progress of forming, executing, or implementing agreements with Taiwan for international cooperative activities, including administrative, legal or diplomatic challenges or resource constrains within one year of its enactment. 

As hostile cyber actors strengthen their ability to target Americans’ data and our nation’s military and critical infrastructure, it is critical we continue to develop our own capabilities to deter and protect our homeland. 

For more information concerning work and views related to Cybersecurity, please contact my office.


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