Saturday, January 8, 2011

HR 76 Introduced – Cybersecurity Education Grants

On the first day of the 112th Congress, Rep. Jackson-Lee (D, TX) introduced HR 76, the Cybersecurity Education Enhancement Act of 2011. The bill was referred to three different committees; the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the Committee on Homeland Security.

Establishes Grant Program

Section 2 of this bill would require the DHS Secretary to fund a grant program to be administered by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to promote the professional development of the cyber security workforce. The grants would be provided to institutions of higher education to:

● Establish or expand professional development programs for cyber security professionals,
● Establish or expand associate degree programs in cybersecurity, and
● Purchase equipment for those programs described above.
DHS would provide $3.7 million in FY 2012 and FY 2013 to the NAS to fund these programs. Consortiums of colleges and universities would be given priority in the funding process and efforts would be required to encourage the participation of women and minorities in the education and development programs.

Establish e-Security Fellows Program

Section 3 of this bill would establish an e-Security Fellows program that would provide funding to “State, local, tribal, and private sector officials to participate in the work of the National Cybersecurity Division in order to become familiar with the Department’s stated cybersecurity missions and capabilities”. While DHS could pay a stipend to cover ‘reasonable living expenses’ during the 180-day period of the fellowship, the individual’s employer would have to agree to continue to pay the person’s salary and benefits during the fellowship.


The $3.7 million grant program is a fairly small program by DHS standards. Spread over any reasonable number of institutions and it will have little more than a symbolic effect on cyber security education efforts. In keeping with the rules for this session set forth by the new Republican leadership, this bill would have to identify other programs (presumably within DHS) that would be reduced or eliminated to provide the funding necessary. It will be interesting to see what grant program (my presumption that it would be a grant program, that isn’t really required by the new House rules) will be proposed for reduction elimination.

Of course with House members supposedly no longer being able to earmark monies from these various grant programs, there may be less objections to re-programming funds for a bill like this.

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