On Thursday, June 2, the Council of Governors, led by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, held its 13th Intersession Meeting with key federal partners. The Council’s work groups on cybersecurity, emergency management and disaster relief, military matters, and workforce discussed progress on priorities drafted and agreed upon at the Council Plenary Winter Meeting held in Washington, D.C.
The Cybersecurity Work Group led by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon held a discussion with CISA Deputy Director Nitin Natarajan on progress on cyber workforce development, developing and understanding the state and local cybersecurity grant landscape, and strengthening coordination efforts with the federal government.
The Emergency Management and Disaster Response Work Group led by Oregon Governor Kate Brown discussed with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell the need to ensure equity and access in disaster relief and recovery across all communities.
The Military Matters Work Group led by Council co-Chairs Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine discussed progress on priorities with Assistant Secretary of Defense Melissa Dalton. The discussion covered full-time support for Army National Guard, duty status reform, and ensuring a more inclusive process in Department of Defense basing decisions.
Finally, the Workforce Work Group led by Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was joined by Under Secretary of Defense Gil Cisneros to discuss priorities to improve recruitment and retention and support of the National Guard members and their families. The group focused particularly on creating parity between active duty and guard service members in access to benefits.
Other sitting members of the Council include Delaware Governor John Carney, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Vermont Governor Phil Scott.
Federal partners participating in the event included Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security John Tien, Homeland Security Advisor Dr. Liz Sherwood-Randall, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Deputy Director Nitin Natarajan, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs Melissa Dalton, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement Eva Millona, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gil Cisneros and Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Rodriguez.