H.R. 3107, The Homeland Security Cybersecurity Boots-on-the-Ground Act

H.R. 3107

The Homeland Security Cybersecurity Boots-on-the-Ground Act

Sponsor
Rep. Yvette D. Clarke

Date
July 28, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, July 28, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 3107, the Homeland Security Cybersecurity Boots-on-the-Ground Act, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 3107 was introduced on September 17, 2013 by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and was referred to the House Homeland Security Committee.  The bill was marked up on October 29, 2013 and was ordered reported, as amended, by voice vote.[1]

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[1] House Committee Report 113-294.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3107 requires the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) to establish, within 90 days of the bill’s enactment, occupation categories for individuals working in furtherance of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity mission.  H.R. 3107 requires that the Secretary, within 180 days of the bill’s enactment, assess the readiness and capacity of DHS’s workforce to meet its cybersecurity mission.  In the same time period, the Secretary must develop a workforce strategy to enhance the readiness, recruitment, and retention of DHS’s cybersecurity workforce.

H.R. 3107 requires that the Secretary, within 270 days of the bill’s enactment, establish a process to ensure that contract employees in cybersecurity positions at DHS receive initial and recurring information security training.  The Secretary must submit to Congress annual updates on the previously mentioned workforce assessment, workforce strategy, and information security training program.  In addition, the GAO must analyze DHS’s cybersecurity workforce assessment and strategy.

Within 120 days of the bill’s enactment, the Secretary must report to Congress on the feasibility of establishing a Cybersecurity Fellowship Program to offer a tuition payment plan for undergraduate and doctoral candidates who agree to work for DHS for a specified time period.  H.R. 3107 authorizes the Secretary to establish cybersecurity positions within the excepted service,[2] akin to authority exercised by the Secretary of Defense for civilian intelligence personnel.  H.R. 3107 specifies that no addition funds are authorized to carry out the bill.

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[2] “Federal Government civilian positions are generally in of the competitive civil service. To obtain a competitive service job, you must compete with other applicants in open competition. OPM provides excepted service hiring authorities to fill special jobs . . . . These excepted service authorities enable agencies to hire when it is not feasible or not practical to use traditional competitive hiring procedures, and can streamline hiring.” U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Hiring Authorities: Excepted Service.

Background

DHS is responsible for preventing and protecting against cybersecurity threats to the U.S.[3]  “Such threats come in many forms and include threats to individuals, corporations, and the Government.”[4]  Gaps in the cybersecurity workforce “expose vulnerabilities in our Nation’s ability to reduce cyber threats, deter and respond to incidents, and recover from cyberattacks.”[5]  According to the GAO, “more than one in five jobs at a key cybersecurity component with [DHS] are vacant.”[6]  Because the cybersecurity workforce is limited, federal agencies must compete among themselves and with the private sector to recruit professionals with the requisite skills.[7]  “It is therefore necessary that DHS develop a comprehensive workforce assessment and strategy to address gaps in the Nation’s cybersecurity workforce.”[8]

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[3] House Committee Report 113-294 at 3.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id. at 3-4.
[8] Id. at 4.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing the reporting requirements in H.R. 3107 would cost less than $500,000 and the additional documentation requirements for contractors would cost approximately $2 million over the 2014-2019 period.  The bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.