Cantwell, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Close Cybersecurity Talent Gap in Washington, Across Country

In’s cyber workforce, more than 6,300 jobs are currently unfilled; HACKED Act would increase resources and pathways for an expanded cybersecurity workforce nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, introduced bipartisan legislation with committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) and U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) to strengthen America’s cybersecurity workforce in both the public and private sectors. 

In Washington state, the supply of cybersecurity workers is rated “very low” relative to demand. This bill would expand current federal cybersecurity programs and align education and training with workforce needs, helping to close the cybersecurity talent gap that exists in Washington and across the country. 

“America is facing serious cyber threats every day in today’s increasingly connected world, yet there is a serious shortage of workers needed to confront this urgent challenge,” Cantwell said. “There are currently 300,000 vacancies in our cyber workforce nationwide—including 6,300 in my home state of Washington. The bipartisan HACKED Act of 2019 would help address this by training cybersecurity educators and skilling American workers to do these jobs, as well as increasing coordination on these issues throughout the government.” 

The Harvesting American Cybersecurity Knowledge through Education (HACKED) Act would bolster existing science education and cybersecurity programs within the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Transportation. 

Specifically, the HACKED Act would:

  • Incentivize recruitment of cybersecurity educators;
  • Align education and training with the cybersecurity workforce needs;
  • Design clear paths in the cybersecurity workforce for cybersecurity professionals to advance their careers;
  • Improve cybersecurity awareness guidelines for federal agencies; and
  • Increase coordination in federal cybersecurity workforce programs through a new Office of Science and Technology Policy working group. 

This legislation comes as Senator Cantwell continues to advocate for improved cybersecurity resources to defend critical infrastructure in the United States. She has repeatedly called for greater action and increased collaboration between the government, private sector, utilities, military, and academia to protect critical U.S. energy infrastructure from cyber attacks. Last year, Cantwell introduced legislation to strengthen National Guard cybersecurity capabilities nationwide to better protect public and privately-operated infrastructure, including election systems, dams, and the electric grid. She has also fought to bolster cybersecurity resources for small businesses and has called on the Trump administration to further invest in cybersecurity resources. 

The full text of the bill is available HERE.