National: 3 ways DHS is helping states with election security | FCW

A Department of Homeland Security official said the federal government is substantially more prepared to deal with a nation-state attack on election systems today than it was in the lead-up to the 2016 election. In a Jan. 10 speech to the Election Assistance Commission in Washington D.C., Bob Kolasky, acting deputy under secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, said the department has worked to expand its communication and outreach to state and local governments, which are primarily responsible for administering elections. “The Department of Homeland Security is in a much better position to work with our interagency partners and the election community to respond to any lingering threats that emerge going forward,” he said.

Kolasky said DHS has focused on improving election security assistance to states and localities in three key areas: establishing sound working partnerships with state and local governments, boosting information sharing through a mix of declassification and increased security clearances and dedicating more departmental resources to critical federal election security resources that states rely on.

He likened 2016 efforts to coordinate with states on malicious cyber activity to building relationships “in the middle of a hurricane” as officials attempted to communicate with intelligence agencies, process classified information, establish relationships with states and provide them tools or expertise all at the same time.

Since then, the department has worked to establish a pair of councils to ensure better coordination between every organization involved in the election system. The first consists of federal, state and local government election officials. The second council, still pending, will be designed to engage the private sector, namely voting machine manufacturers and software providers.

Full Article: 3 ways DHS is helping states with election security — FCW.

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