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State and local governments to get $1 billion in federal cybersecurity grants

RICHARD WEINER
Technology for Lawyers

Published: October 14, 2022

The White House recently announced how it was going to distribute the $1 billion in cybersecurity grants that were a part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into lae last year.
According to the Washington Posts’s Cybersecurity 202 newsletter, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed the application process and stated that “The grants will significantly improve national resilience to cyberthreats 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 our communities.”
The four-year fund will release $185 million for fiscal year 2022. Of that amount, each state is eligible for a minimum of $2 million to put together a cybersecurity planning committee and develop a cybersecurity plan (listed as “key requirements”) and to begin to develop various projects.
The initial amounts must be granted from the individual state to local governments and rural communities (at least 80%), with three percent to tribal governments—although the tribal process is still in development.
The whole thing will be administered by CISA, which will evaluate each state’s usage of the funds at the end of each year and then continue the distribution—apparently based on how each state utilizes funds from the previous year.
A number of critics have said that $1 billion isn’t enough money, and I would have to add my voice to that point of view. In fact, it is literally a drop in the bucket. The state actors who are out there hacking infrastructure, hospitals, and other points of cyber weakness and trying to influence elections probably burn through that much in a week.
Additionally, allowing states to determine where the funds go and then allowing the local yahoos to implement their own cybersecurity plans is simply a recipe for disaster in a seemingly infinite number of ways. The cyber infrastructure is nationwide. This plan seems to actually militate against a national cybersecurity response when a national plan is what we need. This could wind up looking like the national public educational system.
But what do I know?
If you’re reading this and you’re in a position to apply for one of these grants, here is the link to the federal grant page: https://www.cisa.gov/cybergrants?utm_campaign=wp_the_cybersecurity_202&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_cybersecurity202


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