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Feds Award $18.2M in Cybersecurity Grants to Tribal Nations

The Department of Homeland Security's Tribal Cybersecurity Grant Program is set to send the money to 32 tribal nations, aiming to help strengthen cybersecurity postures against rising threats.

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Federal money is headed to 32 tribal nations to help defend against a rise in cybersecurity threats to the public sector.

The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Tribal Cybersecurity Grant Program is sending a total of $18.2 million to recipients, intending for the grants to help them each establish critical governance frameworks, identify key vulnerabilities and more, per the Department of Homeland Security. Officials announced the grant winners this week.

DHS reported that a total of 73 communities applied for these grants. Overall, 574 tribal nations were eligible to do so, but TribalHub Executive Officer and Tribal-ISAC Chair Michael Day previously told Government Technology that some tribal nations may have skipped participating due to difficulties applying or because they believed the available funding was too little to be worth the work of applying for and managing the grant.

Demand for cyber dollars was high among those who did apply, however, with funding requests totaling more than $56.5 million. But this isn’t the end. DHS said it will announce an additional round of tribal cybersecurity funding later this year.

This round, awards ranged from $17,850 for the Aroostook Micmac Council to just over $3 million for the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope.

Grant recipients must now partake in two free services: the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s cyber hygiene vulnerability scanning as well as the Nationwide Cybersecurity Review. The first aims to detect vulnerabilities in entities’ external network presences and the latter helps entities self-assess their cyber maturity.

DHS officials celebrated the reach of the Tribal Cybersecurity Grant Program.

“With these first-ever Tribal Cybersecurity Grants, we are not just addressing immediate needs, but also reinforcing the infrastructure that supports the sovereignty and resilience of tribal nations,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell in a press release statement. “This funding, benefiting the largest number of tribal recipients to build cybersecurity resilience in FEMA’s history, is a testament to our dedication to a safer, more secure future for all communities.”

The funding comes via the Tribal Cybersecurity Grant Program, a companion program to the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program.