Last week, I Am The Cavalry convened dozens of leaders from the security community for the fifth “Hackers on the Hill” event at the U.S. Capitol. Since its inception in 2017, “Hackers on the Hill” has aimed to bridge the gap between the security world and the policy community.
The event began with an inside look at “a day in the life” of a Capitol Hill staffer. One longtime staffer shared insights from his experiences working in policymaking and offered advice for building relationships with different offices. The resounding advice was simple: it counts to engage with any representative’s office. Staffers usually work on a number of issues, so learning about technical issues from the professionals who live and breathe security every day is essential to creating strong policies.
That recommendation was echoed in the second briefing on current events in cybersecurity, where a government relations professional provided an overview of the different pieces of legislation connected to various cybersecurity issues including critical infrastructure, supply chain security, and incident reporting.
From there, the security researchers were assigned an ambassador (a member of their community with experience briefing Congress), who guided them through meetings with 14 congressional offices. Groups were matched with offices based on their interests, which included ransomware, disinformation, vulnerability disclosure, and hospital system security. Attendees heard updates on specific pieces of legislation and discussed solutions to some of the most pressing cybersecurity issues that keep them up at night.
Through these meetings, many cyber professionals’ confidence and understanding of policy-making grew. For Hill staffers – they heard valuable insights from experts on the cybersecurity policies with which they’re involved.