The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently concluded a forum for state and local election officials to discuss cyber navigator programs. Cyber navigators are state liaisons that can help under-resourced local jurisdictions manage their cyber risks, help sort through the onslaught of risk information, advice, and available services, and help fast-track mitigation efforts. During the two-day forum participants shared their experiences and identified lessons learned for navigator programs.
This forum is part of a series of new steps to prioritize cybersecurity across the Department of Homeland Security. Secretary Mayorkas first outlined his vision for the Department’s cybersecurity priorities in March, which included a series of focused 60-day sprints designed to elevate existing work, remove roadblocks to progress, and launch new initiatives and partnerships to achieve DHS’s cybersecurity mission and implement Biden-Harris Administration priorities. DHS is currently in the midst of its “Election Security” sprint, focused on the need to cement the resilience of the nation’s democratic infrastructures and protect the integrity of its election. To learn more about the sprints, please visit www.dhs.gov/cybersecurity.
“Election security is a whole-of-nation effort that simply isn’t possible without the partnership and leadership of state, territorial, and local election officials,” said Kim Wyman, CISA’s Senior Advisor for Election Security. “All state election offices are taking important steps to support the cybersecurity needs of their local election offices. We are proud to offer this forum to collaborate and share best practices on innovative approaches like cyber navigator programs. During this election security sprint and beyond, we look forward to hosting more forums, exercises, and trainings to assist election officials as they harden their cybersecurity posture, bolster physical security of election infrastructure, combat mis- and disinformation, and increase confidence in the integrity of the electoral system.”
“Participating in this most recent CISA forum was an exciting opportunity to join with some of the country’s foremost experts on cybersecurity and elections administration to share our perspectives and exchange ideas about the evolving cybersecurity landscape,” said Florida Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee. “Partnerships with Florida’s 67 local election officials and the crucial support we received from CISA were essential to the success of Florida’s 2020 elections. In Florida, our Cyber Navigator program ensures that we share vital resources and cybersecurity support with all of our local Supervisors of Elections and that we work as a unified team to protect our elections.”
“I am very grateful to CISA for hosting this forum,” added Michelle Tassinari, Massachusetts Director of Elections. “In Massachusetts, we were inspired to establish our Election Security Partnership Program after we learned about another state’s program, and this meeting provided another great opportunity to share our experiences and learn from others. Because of these collaborative experiences, we have come away with even more tools and ideas that we look forward to implementing in the future.”