As Congress takes up legislation to strengthen the nation’s defensive cybersecurity capabilities, the National Governors Association (NGA) sent a letter to House and Senate leadership “to ensure federal efforts support existing state laws and initiatives to protect consumers, secure individuals’ data and strengthen partnerships among all levels of government and the private sector.”
The NGA said pending cybersecurity legislation supports state efforts to protect consumers, government networks and critical infrastructure.
The letter was signed by NGA Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee Chair, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Vice Chair Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, as well as Council of Governors co-chairs Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy.
“Governors are leading efforts to improve the cybersecurity posture of their states, including strengthening the security and resiliency of state networks and partnering with the private sector to protect critical infrastructure,” the jointly signed letter stated, noting that, “States are working collectively through the National Governors Association Resource Center for State Cybersecurity to share best practices and bring stakeholders together to address cybersecurity challenges. Forums, such as the Council of Governors, also are convening key leaders to improve information sharing and better coordinate state and federal cybersecurity activities.”
NGA told Congress it “can support these efforts by ensuring that cybersecurity legislation enhances the state-federal partnership and encourages innovative solutions to protect citizens, businesses and infrastructure.”
The NGA specifically told congressional leaders that as they “develop and consider cybersecurity and data breach legislation,” they also incorporate the following priorities:
- Maintain states’ ability to protect consumers – Legislation to establish a national data breach notification standard should maintain states’ ability to enforce civil penalties for violations and provide additional protections in state statute if desired.
- Enable effective information sharing with states – Federal efforts to encourage the private sector to share information on cyber threats with the federal government also should improve information sharing with state and local authorities.
- Support the National Guard’s role in cybersecurity – Congress should continue to support efforts of the Army and Air National Guard to build cyber mission forces. The National Guard is a cost effective force uniquely positioned to leverage private sectorcybersecurity skills while supporting federal and state needs.
“Governors are committed to strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity,” and, “We appreciate your consideration of these priorities and stand ready to work with Congress, our federal partners and the private sector to strengthen our collective cybersecurity posture,” the NGA ‘s letter said.