WASHINGTON—In an effort to address the challenges presented by the growth of cyber attacks and threats against the United States, the National Governors Association (NGA) today announced the creation of the Resource Center for State Cybersecurity (Resource Center) to be led by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

Through the Resource Center, governors will address the consequences of the rapidly evolving and expanding technological threats now faced by law enforcement agencies, public works and energy agencies, private financial and communications sectors and the general public. The project will examine the role state policy can and should play in ensuring adequate cybersecurity for state-owned and state-based infrastructure including data and communication systems, financial records, banking systems, water systems, electrical grids and energy companies.

“The overall goal of the Resource Center is to help governors create the most robust policy environment possible to protect our infrastructure, our government and our citizens from cyber threats and data breaches,” said Gov. O’Malley. “This project is a significant step because it marks the first major focus on the role of states in protecting cybersecurity infrastructure.”

“This is a critical issue for governors and for states. Through this project, we’ll focus on several important areas including actions governors can take, partnering with private industry and working among all levels of government,” said Gov. Snyder. “I look forward to working with NGA to create strategies that will help states deal with this challenge.”

The NGA Center for Best Practices staff will work with policymakers and law enforcement officials at state, local and federal levels; representatives from private industry, including the financial, communications and information technology sectors; and representatives from other relevant public and private institutions (e.g. energy companies, internet service providers, health officials) to more effectively and strategically identify and address cybersecurity policy issues within states.

The first phase of the Resource Center intends to leverage existing resources, identify issues and develop recommendations for all states to promote cybersecurity by:

  • Convening a planning group to help inform and plan project activities;
  • Commissioning white papers on cybersecurity for an audience of governors and state policymakers;
  • Creating a National Policy Council on State Cybersecurity;
  • Producing a governors’ guide and policy framework on cybersecurity;
  • Disseminating the findings of the project; and
  • Providing technical assistance to governors’ offices.

Next steps for the project will include identifying states in which to implement the recommended courses of actions.