LEXINGTON, Ky., Tuesday, May 22, 2018 — Yesterday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released grant guidance for FY 2018 preparedness grants which requires state chief information officers (CIO) and state chief information security officers (CISO) to be included in the Senior Advisory Committee (SAC) and the Urban Area Working Group (UAWG). The SAC and the UAWG are charged with coordinating preparedness activities across disciplines and stakeholders with the goal of maximizing coordination and reducing duplication of effort.
NASCIO applauds the inclusion of state CIOs and CISOs in the FEMA grants process especially as states and localities increasingly combat cybersecurity threats directed at government. “Cybersecurity is a top priority for state CIOs. Our CIO and CISO community looks forward to collaborating with our state emergency management and homeland security partners to enhance the capability of state and local governments to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards including and especially cybersecurity threats,” said Bo Reese, NASCIO president and Oklahoma CIO.
For the past five years, cybersecurity has been ranked as the number one priority for state CIOs according to the annual NASCIO Top Ten survey. Additionally, inclusion in the FEMA grants process directly addresses some of the top challenges to state government cybersecurity as reported by state CISOs in the 2016 Deloitte-NASCIO Cybersecurity Study: lack of sufficient funding (80 percent), increasing sophistication of threats (45 percent), and lack of visibility and influence within the enterprise (33 percent). State CIOs and CISOs are uniquely positioned to assist state and local governments respond to and recover from cyber attacks in the government domain and are encouraged to see FEMA grant guidance reflect the willingness of state CIOs and CISOs to contribute their knowledge and expertise in the wider homeland security discussion.
“State CIOs and CISOs have long regarded emergency management and homeland security professionals as partners in protecting public assets, both physical and digital. This is why NASCIO released the Cyber Disruption Response Planning Guide in 2016, because we anticipated the rise of cyber threats within government and wanted to provide guidance on how to prepare for this type of attack,” said Doug Robinson, executive director of NASCIO.
NASCIO is encouraged by the grant guidance to include our membership as a partner in homeland security. We look forward to collaborating with our state colleagues.