The United States House of Representatives recently introduced new legislation that could potentially deliver $28 billion in federal funds to state and local governments in order to upgrade IT and cybersecurity infrastructure.
The State and Local IT Modernization and Cybersecurity Act would create a federal funding mechanism for state and local governments to address IT and cybersecurity issues. The bill would create three new federal grant programs in order to help state and local governments.
The Modernizing IT Grant Program would provide $25 billion over a five-year period for state and local governments to update/replace old legacy systems and move to cloud-based systems, the Public Health Emergency Information Technology Grant Program would fund emergency IT expenses that have been exposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program would provide upwards of $2 billion to help state and local governments develop their own strategic plans for cybersecurity.
The legislation was drafted by lawmakers attached to the Cyberspace Solarium Commission who, earlier this year, published a white paper outlining the various deficiencies in U.S. government’s IT security strategy. One of the commission’s most consistent suggestions has been to use federal funds to help empower state and local government in the area of cybersecurity.
“Outdated legacy systems not only threaten state and local governments’ ability to deliver critical services, but can also expose sensitive data to cyberthreats,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., one of the sponsors of the legislation, in a statement. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and modernizing IT infrastructure is an important step towards ensuring our country is well-defended in cyberspace across all levels of government.”