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By Clare O’Gara
Mon | Jun 15, 2020 | 5:45 AM PDT

With this new U.S. Senate bill, cybersecurity will be able to bring in the big guns. Remotely, that is.

Getting the Cyber National Guard across state lines

Cybercrime knows no borders. The digital world weaves everything together indiscriminate of state, nation, country, or continental lines.

But currently, some vital fighters in the cybersecurity battle have been unable to protect the digital world beyond the borders of their own state.

U.S. National Guard members trained in cyber defense can't work across state lines.

But a new Senate bill, introduced by Sen. Gary Peters, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is trying to change that. Here's how Peters describes the bill on his website:

"The National Guard Cyber Interoperability Act of 2020 would enable the National Guard to provide remote cybersecurity support and technical assistance to help states respond to cyber incidents."

While the bill focuses mostly on assistance for states, Peters envisions cyber equipped National Guard members playing an expanded role where needed:

"Cyber-attacks are one of the greatest threats to our national security and the United States is not sufficiently prepared to defend itself in cyberspace or recover from a significant cyber disruption. Our adversaries like China, Russia and Iran are constantly probing our critical infrastructure and government systems to identify weaknesses that could be exploited in the event of a conflict.

These bills will help prepare our country to defend against and recover from serious attacks on our critical infrastructure—including our financial institutions, transportation infrastructure, and health care facilities—that could cause severe disruption to our daily lives."

This is another example of the law trying to catch up with technology.

The National Guard: serving the cybersecurity mission

While this new bill seeks to extend their efforts, the National Guard is already active in the fight against cybercrime.

An example of this is the Cyber 9-Line. This assessment is a vital resource for the National Guard when determining how to assist organizations facing cyberattacks.

It's also influential in the fight for election security. Check out what the NSA has to say about Cyber 9-Line:

The "Cyber 9-Line" is a template of questions that participating National Guard units use to quickly communicate a cyber incident to USCYBERCOM. The data provided enables USCYBERCOM's Cyber National Mission Force to further diagnose a foreign attack and provide timely, unclassified feedback back to the unit, who shares with state and county governments to address the cyber incident. This process is a key aspect of how USCYBERCOM helps strengthen America’s cybersecurity, and enable election integrity.

Securing the 2020 presidential elections is NSA and USCYBERCOM's No. 1 priority.

If the bill gains traction, National Guard members may have expanded abilities to help defend our nation in cyberspace regardless of state boundaries.