The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a first-of-its-kind cybersecurity grant program specifically for state, local, and territorial (SLT) governments across the country. This State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, part of the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides $1 billion in funding to SLT partners over four years, with $185 million available for 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.
With the release today of a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), DHS has 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.
This program is the latest example of a unified approach across DHS, in which a FEMA-administered program leverages CISA’s 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.
“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.”
“As we build a better America, we’re ensuring that our infrastructure is more modern and digitally connected. But along the way, we must also take proactive steps to increase our resilience to the increasing threat of cyberattacks,” said White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “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.”
“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. The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program will play a critical role in helping these organizations build their capability and capacity,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “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.”
“FEMA’s mission to help people before, during, and after disasters is not limited to climate-related events. Responding to manmade threats to our nation’s critical infrastructure, like cybersecurity, is a role we take seriously and stand ready to support,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “We value our partnership with CISA and look forward to administering this novel cybersecurity grant program that will help protect crucial resources nationwide and ensure that state, local, and territorial governments have more tools to become more resilient to all hazards.”
“Today’s announcement is another example of President Biden’s commitment to secure the essential services Americans rely on. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to trying creative, new approaches, like this grant program to state and local governments, to strengthen our cyber defenses to protect the Americans we serve,” said Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology.
“Securing the Nation’s cyber ecosystem requires a whole-of-society approach, and that includes the crucial work that state, local, and territorial governments do in partnership with the Federal government every day. This program, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensuring that all Americans can thrive in cyberspace,” said National Cyber Director Chris Inglis.
The cyber grant program is an innovative program 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 being announced today 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 on the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, visit CISA’s webpage.