DHS Announces Cybersecurity Grant Program for State, Local Governments
Monday, September 19, 2022 | Comments

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a first-of-its-kind cybersecurity grant program specifically for state, local and territorial (SLT) governments across the country.

The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides $1 billion in funding to SLT partners over four years, with $185 million available for fiscal year 2022 (FY22), to support SLT efforts to address cyber risk to their information systems. With this funding, SLT governments will be better equipped to address cybersecurity risks, strengthen the cybersecurity of their critical infrastructure and ensure resilience against persistent cyber threats for the services SLT governments provide their communities.

“Cyberattacks have emerged as one of the most significant threats to our homeland,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “In response, we continue to strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity, including by resourcing state and local communities to build and enhance their cyber defenses. The cybersecurity grant process we are starting today is a vital step forward in this critical effort. Our approach is one of partnership, in the service of an all-of-society investment in the security of our homeland.”

With the release of a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) on September 16, DHS opened the application process for the grant program. Applicants have 60 days to apply for a grant, which can be used to fund new or existing cybersecurity programs.

“As we build a better America, we’re ensuring that our infrastructure is more modern and digitally connected,” said White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “But along the way, we must also take proactive steps to increase our resilience to the increasing threat of cyberattacks. Thanks to the president’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re making a once-in-a-generation investment of $1 billion in infrastructure cybersecurity, giving our state and local governments the resources they need to guard against debilitating cyber threats. Today’s announcement marks an important step in our commitment to strengthen resilience, protect and improve our nation’s infrastructure, and safeguard our economy.”

The program is the latest example of a unified approach across DHS, in which a Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)-administered program leverages DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) capabilities to accomplish the department’s goal of increasing state and local cyber defenses. By leveraging FEMA’s grant administration expertise, along with CISA’s expertise in cybersecurity, DHS is taking steps to help more SLT stakeholders across the country understand the severity of cyber threats and cultivate partnerships to reduce risks across the state, local and territorial enterprise.

“As the nation’s cyber defense agency, CISA works hand-in-hand with our partners in state, local and territorial governments who face unique cybersecurity challenges but often lack the resources to address them,” said CISA Director Jen easterly. “The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program will play a critical role in helping these organizations build their capability and capacity. We encourage all eligible entities to apply for grant funds to protect our critical infrastructure and communities from malicious cyber activity and to grow their partnership with CISA. CISA is here to provide the expertise, tools and technical assistance to be a reliable partner to state, local and territorial governments in combatting the growing cyber threats they face each day.”

The cyber grant program was established by the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to help address the unique challenges state and territorial governments face when defending against cyber threats. This new grant program will help state and local partners reduce cyber risk and build resilience to the dynamic and evolving cybersecurity threat environment.

Specifically, the cyber grant program will fund efforts to establish critical governance frameworks across states and territories to address cyber threats and vulnerabilities, identify key vulnerabilities and evaluate needed capabilities, implement measures to mitigate the threats, and develop a 21st-century cyber workforce across local communities. CISA will support these efforts with a suite of available resources, including state cybersecurity coordinators and cybersecurity advisors.

The grants will significantly improve national resilience to cyber threats by giving state, local, and territorial governments much-needed resources to address network security and take steps to protect against cybersecurity risks to help them strengthen their communities. There will be two funding opportunities for this program. The funding opportunity is for state, local and territorial governments. As part of this NOFO, local governments are eligible sub-recipients through their respective states and territories. A separate tribal grant program will be released later in the fall.

For more information and helpful resources here.



 
 
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