House lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to create a civilian organization tasked with supporting the digital and cyber needs of federal agencies.
The bill to establish a National Digital Reserve Corps would allow reservists to sign up for a three-year period in which they would work for the federal government for 30 days each calendar year to take on digital and cybersecurity projects, digital education and training, and other work.
The legislation is intended to address a nationwide shortage of cyber talent. According to cybersecurity recruitment website CyberSeek, there are currently 769,736 cybersecurity job openings across the U.S.
Introduced by Reps. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, and Robin Kelly, D-Ill., the bill is intended to give citizens the opportunity to obtain additional training and education while also serving the U.S. government. Under the plans, reservists would also have the chance to obtain and maintain security clearances.
Individuals in the National Digital Reserve Corps would be detailed to federal agencies by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The bill also requires the Department of Labor to issue regulations that ensure reservists’ jobs are waiting for them once they finish their annual service.
“As we have seen from previous cyberattacks, our government currently lacks the workforce capacity needed to combat ransomware and bad actors,” Rep. Gonzales said. “The National Digital Reserve Corps strives to fill that void with civilian industry experts working in service to our federal government and our national security. This will bring the ingenuity and expertise of the private sector to our federal government to bolster our nation’s cybersecurity defense.”
Rep Kelly added: “As the online landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, our government needs cybersecurity solutions that meet the moment,” She added:“I am proud to introduce the National Digital Reserve Corps Act again this Congress to build the cybersecurity infrastructure we need to keep every American safe. This bipartisan effort will strengthen the systems that our constituents rely on to make the government work for them.”