Lawmakers Push to Reauthorize and Possibly Expand Secret Service’s Cyber Crime Training Hub

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Nextgov got an early look at a newly announced bill. 

Legislation recently introduced in the House of Representatives would reauthorize the U.S. Secret Service’s federally funded training hub for digital evidence and cybercrime investigations—and, among other tweaks, codify its curriculum.

Reps. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., Gary Palmer, R-Ala., and Terri Sewell, D-Ala., put forth the bill to renew the authority of the Hoover, Alabama-based National Computer Forensics Institute. Their 10-page policy proposal, shared with Nextgov on Tuesday, was referred to the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees for consideration. 

The Secret Service’s NCFI was formed to train and equip state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges on combating cybercrimes and digital fraud. Thousands of such students have been educated via its courses since its inception.

Specifically, the lawmakers' legislation would amend Section 822 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize the institute through 2032, instead of 2022. 

Text from that original legislation—which reads that NCFI, “shall disseminate information related to the investigation and prevention of cyber and electronic crime and related threats, and educate, train and equip” the previously mentioned law enforcement officials—would be struck. 

The line that would be inserted in its place asserts that the institute’s mission “shall be to educate, train and equip state, local, territorial and tribal law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, participants in the United States Secret Service’s network of cyber fraud task forces and other appropriate individuals regarding investigating and preventing cybersecurity incidents, electronic crimes and related cybersecurity threats, including through the dissemination of homeland security information, in accordance with relevant department guidance regarding privacy, civil rights and civil liberties protections.”

The fresh legislation lists a curriculum and activities for those involved in the NCFI and requires that programs providing training to individuals from “geographically-diverse jurisdictions throughout” the U.S. are prioritized. 

Among other provisions, the bill also calls for the Secret Service director to give Congress an analysis of the institute’s resources and a plan potentially expand the physical operations and virtual resources. Slotkin will likely share more information about this proposal and its impetus on Thursday, Nextgov confirmed.