The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a first-of-its-kind cybersecurity grant program specifically to support state and local governments (SLGs) across the country.

The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program – established through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 – provides $1 billion in funding to SLGs and territorial governments over four years, with $185 million available for the fiscal year 2022, to support their efforts to address cybersecurity risks.

The funding will better equip SLGs and territorial governments to address cybersecurity risks, strengthen the cybersecurity of their critical infrastructure, and ensure resilience against persistent cyber threats for the services these government entities provide their communities.

“Cyberattacks have emerged as one of the most significant threats to our homeland,” DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, said in a statement.

“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,” he said.

The cyber grant program will specifically fund efforts to establish a critical governance framework across states and territories to address cyber threats and vulnerabilities, identify key vulnerabilities, evaluate needed capabilities, implement measures to mitigate the threats, and develop a 21st-century cyber workforce across local communities.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will also help support these efforts by providing a suite of available resources, such as state cybersecurity coordinators and cybersecurity advisors.

“We applaud the department for their work in moving forward in implementing this vital new grant program, and we will continue to work to ensure state and local governments receive the cybersecurity assistance they need. This funding is a vital down payment toward addressing our state and local cybersecurity challenges, and Congress must ensure that we continue to build on this support in the future,” Rep Yvette D. Clarke, D-NY, said in a statement.

There will be two funding opportunities under the program. This funding opportunity is specifically for SLGs and territorial governments. Local governments are eligible sub-recipients for this funding opportunity through their respective states and territories.

A separate funding opportunity aimed at tribal communities will be released later in the fall.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.