Cybersecurity experts have issued warnings to Congress about the potential consequences of a government shutdown set to take place on October 1, marking the start of the new federal fiscal year. During a hearing before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, experts highlighted the damage that a shutdown could inflict on national security.
Specifically, they pointed to the potential delays in critical work by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), emphasizing that extended delays could provide adversaries with more opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities.
Brian Gumbel, president of security firm Armis, testified that these funding delays would have a detrimental impact on the nation’s security. The longer the funding delay persists, the greater the potential for adversaries to advance their positions.
Additionally, some congressional colleagues have advocated for defunding agency salaries and reducing the budget, which further complicates the situation. Although there is a push for a continuing resolution to temporarily extend current funding levels, it faces opposition, making the outcome uncertain.
Federal shutdowns caused by funding disputes, which were once rare, have become more frequent. In the event of a shutdown, most of the federal workforce is furloughed, except for “excepted” civil servants whose duties are crucial to national security or “exempted” workers whose salaries are funded separately. The cybersecurity workforce would be limited to essential duties, potentially leaving gaps in monitoring and protection against cyber threats.
Experts emphasized the importance of funding new initiatives and adopting emerging technologies in federal cybersecurity programs to maintain and enhance national security.