Monday, April 22, 2019

S 876 Introduced – DOE Vet Training

Last month Sen. Duckworth (D,IL) introduced S 867, the Energy Jobs for Our Heroes Act of 2019. The bill would require DOE to establish a program to prepare eligible participants for careers in the energy industry as part of the DOD’s SkillBridge (program web site ‘under construction’) program.

Energy Ready Vets Program

The bill would add a new section to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It would require DOE to establish the ‘Energy-Ready Vets Program’ to prepare eligible participants for careers in the energy industry. The program would “provide standardized training courses, based, to the maximum extent practicable, on existing industry-recognized certification and training programs, to prepare eligible participants in the program for careers in the energy industry” {new §1107(d)}.

Cybersecurity Training

The program would provide training in five energy sectors, including the cybersecurity sector of the energy industry. The training would prepare participants for jobs in {§1107(d)(1)(C)}:

Cybersecurity preparedness;
Cyber incident response and recovery;
Grid modernization, security, and maintenance;
Resilience planning; and
Other areas relating to the cybersecurity sector of the energy industry;

The bill provides for a grant program “to assist the industry in developing such an industry-recognized certification and training program” {§1107(f)(1)} when such programs do not currently exist. Funding for the grant programs comes out of a generic “such sums as are necessary to carry out this section” authorization included in §1107(g)(1).

Moving Forward

While Duckworth is not a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, one of her two cosponsors {Sen. Gardner (R.CO)} is. This means that there is a strong possibility that this bill will be considered in Committee. I suspect that there will be bipartisan support for the bill both in Committee and on the floor as it hits three key political targets: veterans, jobs and clean energy (one of the job sectors not covered in this post).

The key problem this bill faces is getting it to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Time is the big issue and the bill is not important enough to get full debate in the Senate. This means that it would have to be considered under the Senate’s unanimous consent process where the voice of a single Senator can stop the bill from being considered. I do not see anything in the bill to draw strong opposition, but ‘objections’ are frequently raised on bills as a means of expressing political opposition to any of a number of loosely related issues.

This bill, however, is certainly a strong candidate for inclusion in a DOE or even DOD authorization bill either as part of the introduced bill or as an amendment.


The lack of people with cybersecurity training is an ongoing problem for many industrial sectors and the energy sector specifically. Training veterans for such jobs is a win-win solution. Since the SkillBridge program is targeted at individual military facilities, the provisions of this bill would allow DOE to tailor cybersecurity training programs at facilities with high-concentrations of military members with cybersecurity skills. This could allow the programs to focus on certification skills rather than basic cybersecurity training. This would make it easier for cyber warriors to transition into critical cybersecurity jobs.

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