Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today gave the following statement on the House floor in support of the Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act of 2017 (H.R. 1616).

Chairman Goodlatte: Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, the National Computer Forensics Institute serves a vital purpose in preparing State and local law enforcement to combat computer and cybercrime.  Last Congress, the House passed this legislation by voice vote, under suspension of the rules.  I am pleased to support this legislation once again, and am confident that this bill will once again receive bipartisan support.

The United States Department of Justice has declared that cybercrime “is one of the greatest threats facing our country” and that it has “enormous implications for our national security, economic prosperity, and public safety.”  We have seen this just in the past few days after cyber vulnerabilities led to widespread computer disruptions around the world.

With this in mind, the National Computer Forensics Institute serves the vital purpose of providing legal and judicial professionals a free, comprehensive education on current cybercrime trends, investigative methods, and prosecutorial and judicial challenges.

The National Computer Forensics Institute is a 32,000-square-foot facility located in Hoover, Alabama. The Institute boasts three multipurpose classrooms, two network investigations classrooms, a mock courtroom, and a forensics lab.

Special agents of the United States Secret Service staff the Institute and work diligently training attendees in modern counter-cybercrime procedures and evidence collection. When the attendees leave, they take with them the critical knowledge and equipment required to conduct autonomous and thorough cybercrime investigations at their home agencies.

Since its creation in 2008, the Institute has earned praise for its work in preparing America’s local law enforcement in how to deal with these important technology issues.

Over the last 7 years, the Institute has instructed law enforcement professionals from every State in the country and from over 500 different law enforcement agencies.

In fact, law enforcement in my own district has benefited from NCFI training, including Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Doucette and his staff.

Each professional educated at the Institute is a force multiplier for the Secret Service.  The Institute itself is a force multiplier for other law enforcement cyber forensic efforts, complementing vital training offered by entities like the National White Collar Crime Center, otherwise known as “NW3C.”  After successful completion of the NCFI and the NW3C programs, the students can bring their new knowledge back to their local agency to inform their colleagues how to properly conduct computer forensic investigations.

Mr. Speaker, I firmly believe that, for our Nation to successfully combat the cybercrime threat, we must support legislation such as H.R. 1616.  I want to thank the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Ratcliffe, for sponsoring this important legislation.

Authorizing the existing National Computer Forensics Institute in Federal law will cement its position as a high-tech cybercrime training facility and will help law enforcement professionals nationwide in their efforts to combat cyber-related crimes.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.