On June 13, Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Texas, introduced the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Cyber Training Act (H.R. 3266) that would direct the Secretary of Defense to initiate a high school-level program that would increase JROTC students’ preparation for careers in computer science and cybersecurity.

The bipartisan bill was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services and is cosponsored by Reps. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., Rob Bishop, R-Utah, Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and Jackie Speier, D-Calif.

“It makes clear sense that with the changing needs of the armed services, we provide training in the technical skills that will best serve both the students and our military,” Congresswoman Fletcher said in a press release. The press release cites a need for the defense sector to start becoming more competitive with other tech industry employers for students entering the field.

The JROTC Cyber Training Act would require that the Secretary of Defense “establish outcome-based metrics and internal and external assessments” for program activities that would measure the merits and benefits of the activities based on Department of Defense needs. The legislation works to add training for artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, computing, and other related technical skills to the established framework of grade school curriculum and other JROTC training. It would also establish targeted internships and cooperative research opportunities for students and instructors in JROTC at defense laboratories and other technical centers for computer science and cybersecurity.

“These skills will not only help our armed forces, but diversify the field of future military and civilian personnel who can leverage their skills even beyond our nation’s frontlines,” Rep. Fletcher said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.