Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI) called on the Department of Homeland Security to resolve the shortfall in funding to the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC).
According to a press release, these programs, run by the New York-based Center for Internet Security, help ensure that the federal government communicates information on cyber threats and best cybersecurity practices to state and local entities, as well as provide assistance and threat monitoring to state and local governments facing cybersecurity challenges.
“As you know, State, Local, Territorial and Tribal (SLTT) entities have been consistently targeted by malicious hackers. Recently, across the nation our cities and states have suffered from debilitating ransomware attacks that are carried out to extort public funds,” wrote the Senators. “Local governments – including small towns, counties, and school districts - simply do not have the budgets, the personnel, or the expertise necessary to deploy sophisticated tools in order to defend themselves against this evolving threat environment. We hope that you will work with us to address this urgent concern and ensure that DHS provides MS-ISAC and EI-ISAC the resources necessary to continue their important mission.”
New Hampshire Information Technology Commissioner Denis Goulet raised concerns with Senator Hassan that the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed budget would effectively cut MS-ISAC annual funding from $15 million to $10.4 million at the same time DHS was asking the Center for Internet Security to also run the Election Infrastructure program. The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended an appropriation of $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2020 for the account that funds both programs as well as additional programs to support state and local cybersecurity.