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VIDEO: Senator Peters Advocates for Michigan Security Assets at Hearing with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing, U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) asked U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas how funding he secured will be used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to kick start a Northern Border Coordination Center at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County and strengthen America’s cybersecurity defenses.

“In this year’s appropriations bill I was able to secure initial funding, with the help of my colleagues here…for the Northern Border Coordination Center. This Center is going to play a critical role in coordinating our efforts to better secure our nation’s Northern Border,” said Senator Peters.

In response, Secretary Mayorkas committed to working with DHS and Customs and Border Protection officials to ensure that plans to stand up and staff the Northern Border Coordination Center are moving quickly to strengthen efforts to secure the Northern Border.

In recent government funding legislation that was signed into law, Peters secured $3 million to establish and operate a Northern Border Coordination Center, which will be collocated with the existing DHS components currently operating out of Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The center is directed to support coordination across DHS and key partners to identify and address security needs along the entire Northern Border. This comes after Peters advanced bipartisan legislation in the Senate to further expand the operations and duties of the center.   

During the hearing, Peters additionally asked Mayorkas what steps must be taken to effectively protect Michigan communities from emerging threats such as cyberattacks on critical infrastructure.

“I was pleased to see the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published by CISA, as was required by my Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act,” said Senator Peters. “This legislation, and the implementing rule, will ensure cyber incidents affecting critical infrastructure are reported to CISA so that it can help companies prevent similar attacks. However, FY24 appropriations for this program were set $24 million dollars below the requested level.”

In response, Secretary Mayorkas agreed that this legislation is critical to enhancing our nation’s cybersecurity capabilities and agreed that a lack of funding for this program will hinder DHS’ ability to realize the full benefits of Peters’ legislation. Mayorkas emphasized the importance of receiving proper resources for the law to effectively secure our nation against future cyber attacks.

To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions at the hearing, click here or on the image below. 

As Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has led efforts to ensure our nation is better prepared to defend against cyberattacks. His historic, bipartisan provision to require critical infrastructure owners and operators to report to CISA if they experience a substantial cyber-attack or if they make a ransomware payment was signed into law in 2022. Peters’ bipartisan bill to enhance cybersecurity assistance to K-12 educational institutions across the country was also signed into law along with other bills to bolster cybersecurity for state and local governments, strengthen the federal cybersecurity workforce, and help secure federal information technology supply chains.