Congressmen Panetta, Wilson Introduce the Bipartisan Small Manufacturer Cybersecurity Enhancement Act

June 18, 2020
Press Release

SALINAS, CA – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC-02), and several of their colleagues, introduced bipartisan legislation to improve cybersecurity assistance for small manufacturers in the defense supply chain.

The Small Manufacturer Cybersecurity Enhancement Act authorizes the Secretary of Defense, acting through the Office of Economic Adjustment, to provide grants to Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers for cybersecurity services to small defense manufacturers. Grants may be used to promote awareness, assessment, evaluation, preparation, and implementation of cybersecurity services; achieve compliance with Department of Defense cybersecurity requirements; and hire trained personnel.

“Cyber vulnerabilities in the defense supply chain pose a significant threat to U.S. national security.  MEP Centers, public-private partnerships located in all 50 states, are uniquely positioned to assist small businesses with cybersecurity requirements and have worked closely with the Pentagon to bolster defense supply chain resiliency,” said Congressman Panetta.  “My bipartisan legislation will enhance the essential work of MEP Centers so they may continue to provide cybersecurity assistance to small manufacturers as they support national defense.”

“This legislation will further develop the Department of Defense’s (DOD) ongoing work with Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers. DOD is increasingly concerned about cyber vulnerabilities in the defense supply chain, specifically among small- and medium-sized manufacturers. This bill will provide much needed assistance to small defense manufacturers with cyber compliance and enhance cybersecurity throughout our defense supply chain by expanding DOD’s cyber initiatives with MEP Centers. The MEP National Network is uniquely positioned to assist the Department to help strengthen our national defense. I am grateful to introduce this legislation with Congressman Jimmy Panetta,” said Congressman Wilson.

The Small Manufacturer Cybersecurity Enhancement Act will build on legislative measures Congressman Panetta helped secure in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 to assist defense manufacturers and universities against cybersecurity threats.

Additional cosponsors include Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), Paul Mitchell (R-MI-10), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-02), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA-14), Haley Stevens (D-MI-11), Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), and Tom Suozzi (D-NY-03).