Council of Governors Approves Joint Action Plan

The Council of Governors (Council) met last week during the National Governors Association (NGA) 2014 Summer Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. During the meeting, the Council, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved a joint action plan for cybersecurity.

The Joint Action Plan for State-Federal Unity of Effort on Cybersecurity (Action Plan) is a commitment by states, DHS and DoD to work together to improve the nation’s cybersecurity posture. It establishes a framework to guide state-federal discussions in areas such as information sharing, operational coordination and incident response.
The Action Plan incorporates several of governors’ key priorities, including:

  • ensuring that the National Guard can be used to support both federal and state missions;
  • improving coordination between states and the federal government on cybersecurity incident management and response; and
  • enhancing state-federal information sharing during cyber incidents.

“Cybersecurity is a top priority for the nation’s governors,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who serves as co-chair of the Council. “This joint action plan is yet another step toward protecting our citizens and economy against cyber attacks. Our National Guard is a highly experienced, capable force and an essential state partner.”
In 2012, in an effort to address the challenges presented by the growing incidence of cyber attacks and threats against the United States, NGA created a Resource Center for State Cybersecurity (Resource Center). Through the Resource Center, governors address the consequences of rapidly evolving and expanding technological threats.
“The significant and continued growth of cyber attacks against the United States makes cybersecurity a critical issue for all governors,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, co-chair of both the Council and Resource Center. “As governors, we are responsible for ensuring the security of not only a wide array of state-owned assets, but also the private sector assets within our states.”
The Council consists of 10 governors appointed by the President—five from each party—with two governors serving as co-chairs. Federal participants in the Council include the secretaries of defense and homeland security, the President’s homeland security and counterterrorism advisor, the commander of U.S. Northern Command and the chief of the National Guard Bureau, among others.
To ensure that the Council appropriately represents all governors, its co-chairs, through NGA, share documents for review and discussion with all governors’ offices prior to Council approval.
In addition to Gov. Branstad and Gov. O’Malley, members of the Council include Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.
In 2011, the Council approved a “dual status command” joint action plan to resolve long-standing concerns about chain of command during domestic emergencies that involve National Guard forces under control of the governor and federal forces under control of the President.

Source: NGA

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