National Guard "Cyber Units" Would Address Tech Topics

By Tom Bacon

Here's an idea for "Transformers" fans - make traditional National Guard units morph into "Cyber Guards."

It's a whole lot more than just a comic book or action movie scenario for Washington Senator Patty Murray and seven of her Senate colleagues. They want to establish teams of cyber guards in each state that could be called upon to respond to local cyber attacks and computer system emergencies.

Murray pointed out that top U.S. defense officials and lawmakers are issuing more and more dire warnings about the shortage of skilled cyber professionals. She said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has talked about the urgent need to develop a new generation of cyber defense workers.

So Murray's bill, introduced last week, would create National Guard cyber units that could be called up by the governor to respond to cyber attacks on power grids, banks, stock exchanges and the like.

The National Guard cyber teams would also train state and local law enforcement officers on ways to defend computer networks from terrorist attacks.

Murray's bill is a bi-partisan effort. Two Republicans joined six Democrats to co-sponsor it. A similar bill is pending in the House.
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