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States pledge to meet the cyber threat

National Governors Association Chair Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe kicked off the 2017 NGA Summer Meeting with a discussion on how states continue to develop strategies to thwart cyber threats.

newspaperOver the last year, Gov. McAuliffe has spearheaded an effort to strengthen state cybersecurity through Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challengehis NGA chair’s initiative.

“The goal of my initiative as NGA chair was to elevate the importance of cybersecurity on every governor’s agenda. To do that, we had to highlight why cybersecurity was more than just an information technology issue. I am proud that, throughout the last year, we have successfully engaged governors and their states on strengthening their cyber protocols and recognizing that cybersecurity is a technology issue, but it’s also a health issue, an education issue, a public safety issue, an economic issue and a democracy issue,” Gov. McAuliffe said.

Among the speakers joining him for the session were Matt Spence, partner at venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz; Chris Bream, chief technology officer at IT company Tanium; and Wes Kremer, vice president of defense contractor Raytheon and president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.

Gov. McAuliffe highlighted governors’ actions to boost cybersecurity defenses throughout the past year. “In New Mexico, Gov. Martinezsigned legislation clarifying when the National Guard can be used during cyber events,” he said. “In OregonGov. Brown signed an executive order to unify all cybersecurity efforts into one agency. Lastly, our incoming [NGA] chair, Gov. Sandoval, recently signed a bill to create a cyber defense center to lead all their cyber projects in Nevada.

“Since the launch of my initiative, more than 30 governors have signed an executive order, legislation or announced a cybersecurity initiative,” he continued, adding, “This has resulted in a dozen executive orders, 14 signed bills and 17 initiatives.”

Gov. McAuliffe also announced at the session that 38 governors across the country had signed on to a compact to improve state cybersecurity in which they pledged to enhance cybersecurity governance, prepare and defend their states from cybersecurity events and help grow the nation’s cyber workforce.

The work of Meet the Threat will live on, both in the Governor’s Guide to Cybersecurity, a comprehensive resource for state officials that outlines concrete steps they can take to bolster cybersecurity practices, and NGA’s Resource Center for State Cybersecurity, which Gov. McAuliffe co-chairs with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

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