DHS will boost coordination and information sharing efforts on election security threats later this month in the run-up to the midterms, a senior agency official said Tuesday. The “heightened operational posture” will take effect Sept. 21, as absentee ballots begin streaming in, Bob Kolasky, director of DHS’s new National Risk Management Center, told reporters after a panel discussion at the Intelligence and National Security Summit in National Harbor, Md. The agency’s Election Task Force “continues to be the hub of DHS election activity,” according to Kolasky. But there will be “enhanced coordination” and “heightened information sharing” among the department’s various agencies and partners, including the Defense Department, 45 days before voters go to the polls, Kolasky explained. He noted that while the increase is in part time-driven, there are no plans “to change the nature of how we work with states in the run-up to the elections.”
Speaking on the panel, Kolasky echoed comments by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats that U.S. officials aren’t seeing the same level of election meddling activity as before the 2016 elections; however, “we do believe the intent and capability of the adversary still exists and we need to be ready for something to happen.”
New Jersey has gotten the message. Last week, the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the head of the National Guard signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the service to bring its expertise directly to bear when it comes to cybersecurity. Traditionally, the Guard would have to be operationally deployed by DoD to come in during a disaster; the agreement allows the state to put service members into a training environment during a non-event so they can become acclimated to the civilian systems, according to Jared Maples, the state’s homeland security chief. The document “breaks down some of the barriers, administratively,” he told Martin. It was driven in part by the upcoming election, Maples said, noting the attorney general approved the document in a matter of weeks.
Full Article: DHS ramping up election security coordination – POLITICO.