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U.S. House amendment boosts profile of UTSA's cybersecurity program

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(April 23, 2015) – The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed an amendment by Congressman Joaquin Castro that will expand UTSA's cybersecurity role within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Castro's amendment gives the secretary of DHS the authority to formally establish the UTSA-led National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC) within the department. The consortium will address unique issues related to cybersecurity on the state and local level, serving as the lead entity within DHS for cybersecurity training and technical assistance for states and local first responders and officials.

Castro said the amendment elevates the profile of UTSA's cybersecurity research and education program, which last year was ranked No. 1 in the nation by a Ponemon Institute survey of almost 2,000 IT security professionals.

The House unanimously passed a second amendment by Castro that makes self-assessment tools available to small and medium-sized businesses for determining their cybersecurity readiness. The amendments were attached to H.R. 1731, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote of 355-63, now goes to the U.S. Senate.

"The city of San Antonio and UTSA are national cybersecurity leaders," Castro said. "These amendments elevate the great work being done in our city and help communities and businesses across the country strengthen their cyber defenses. I'm proud of San Antonio's growing role in keeping America's digital assets safe, and I'm pleased both of my amendments passed with such strong bipartisan support."

The NCPC, chaired by UTSA's Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS), provides training and technical assistance to states and communities to develop viable and sustainable cybersecurity programs. UTSA has become a national leader in the field, with advancements in digital forensics, secure design, and better ways to detect and respond to cyber-attacks.

UTSA is one of only 44 institutions in the nation designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and the DHS.

UTSA's cybersecurity program has numerous military, government and private partners. It is aligned with the United States Air Force Cyber Command, the largest contingent of Air Force cybersecurity professionals outside of Washington, D.C.

For more information, visit the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium website.

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