Friday, December 13, 2019

US Senate passes Cornyn bill to enhance UTSA cybersecurity programs

US Senate passes Cornyn bill to enhance UTSA cybersecurity programs

Under Cornyn's bill the Department of Homeland Security would be authorized to work with universities that are part of a consortium.

Nov. 26, 2019 — UTSA would be one of five universities nationwide that could benefit from the passing of the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act, announced by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.

The legislation would authorize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to work with the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium to help prepare for and respond to cybersecurity risks at the national, state and local levels. 

“Cyber threats are evolving at an alarming rate, and we need to be sure our infrastructure to combat them is ready for the challenge,” Cornyn said. “Universities like UTSA and Texas A&M are a boon to our state as Texas works to ensure governments at all levels can prevent and take action on cyberattacks.” 

Texas was already in the spotlight in August 2019 for a statewide attack in which 22 local governments’ computer systems were hacked, seized and held for ransom. 

“We are increasingly seeing states and communities being targeted by attackers. Having a consortium of universities, like the NCPC, aiding DHS is vital for the nation’s defense,” said Greg White, director of UTSA’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security. 


“Universities like UTSA...are a boon to our state as Texas works to ensure governments at all levels can prevent and take action on cyberattacks.”

JOHN CORNYN, U.S. Senator from Texas



The CIAS, which formed the basis for the NCPC model, has shown social impact in the areas of cybersecurity. The CIAS has already trained 7,848 individuals and organizations. 

“We are very excited to see the NCPC bill passed by the U.S. Senate. Sen. Cornyn’s office has been instrumental in seeing this bill succeed, which recognizes the contributions of the NCPC to national security,” said White. “The NCPC aids and trains state, local, tribal and territorial governments to help them secure their critical cyber networks and build their cybersecurity capabilities.” 

The NCPC comprises university-based training entities, including UTSA, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, University of Arkansas, University of Memphis and Norwich University. Under this bill, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would be authorized to work with the NCPC to:

  • Provide training to state and local first responders and officials, develop curriculums and provide technical assistance;
  • Conduct cross-sector cybersecurity training and simulation exercises for state and local governments, critical infrastructure owners and operators, and private industry;
  • Help states and communities develop cybersecurity information sharing programs; and
  • Help incorporate cybersecurity risk and incident prevention and response into existing state and local emergency plans and continuity of operations plans.

Learn more about UTSA's Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security.


The CIAS developed the Community Cyber Security Maturity Model, upon which the NCPC is based. The CIAS has worked with states and communities to conduct cybersecurity training, exercises, workshops and seminars for over a decade. It has participated in cybersecurity exercises at the sector and national level as well. The CIAS developed six courses that have been evaluated and accepted as part of the official DHS/FEMA National Training and Education Division catalog. 

Cornyn’s cyber consortium bill has not yet been voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Milady Nazir


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