Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, introduced legislation this week that would establish a Digital Economy and Cybersecurity Board of Advisers at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The bill comes as lawmakers are working to reauthorize the NTIA – a Commerce Department component – for the first time since 1992.

The Digital Economy Cybersecurity Advisory Act – introduced on July 10 – calls on NTIA to appoint a board of experts in cybersecurity and supply chain management to provide advice on policies to support the development and implementation of cybersecurity practices regarding internet, information, and communications networks.

The board would consist of five to 25 experts who will serve two-year terms and be appointed by NTIA’s assistant secretary. The board members would come from both the public and private sector and have backgrounds ranging from cyber leadership positions to software vendors.

According to the bill text, the board would be chaired by NTIA’s associate administrator for policy analysis and development.

Specifically, the board would provide NTIA’s assistant secretary recommendations on technical cybersecurity best practices regarding how to drive economic growth while securing information and communications networks; cybersecurity policies to support the development and implementation of cybersecurity practices with respect to the internet, information, and communications networks; policies that promote the security and resilience to cybersecurity incidents of information and communications networks while fostering innovation; and policies to remove barriers to trust, security, innovation, and commercialization with respect to information and communications networks.

The bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which was scheduled to vote on the measure today during its markup to reauthorize NTIA and ensure the agency is advancing American leadership.

The subcommittee did not end up voting on Rep. Pfluger’s Digital Economy Cybersecurity Advisory Act today, but the panel did send four bills to the full committee – including the NTIA Reauthorization Act of 2023 and the AI Accountability Act.

NTIA has not been reauthorized since 1992.

“The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) plays a key role in closing the digital divide and strengthening American leadership in next-generation communications technology,” full committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta, R-Ohio said in a joint statement on Monday. “It is responsible for developing a national spectrum strategy, seeking input on AI, privacy, and cybersecurity issues, and more recently, running the largest broadband grant program in our nation’s history.”

“NTIA’s duties have changed since it was last reauthorized more than 30 years ago. It’s Congress’s responsibility to re-evaluate these duties and authorities and make sure the agency has the tools and congressional guidance needed to carry them out,” the Republican leaders said. “We look forward to considering several bipartisan solutions to reauthorize NTIA and help ensure that the agency is adapting to meet the needs of a dynamic communications sector.”

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