PROVIDENCE, R.I. - As part of her efforts to foster innovation and economic development opportunities, Governor Gina M. Raimondo today signed an Executive Order establishing Rhode Island's first Cybersecurity Commission.
"We must be innovative and develop a clear strategy to prepare the public and private sector for the technological challenges of the 21st century," said Governor Raimondo. "Technology is a constant in our daily lives, from our health and safety to our economy. In addition to putting the appropriate cyber safeguards in place, we will also find creative ways to grow this sector of our economy and bring new jobs and opportunity to Rhode Island. I am grateful to the members for offering their time and expertise to this important challenge."
"I commend Governor Raimondo for focusing on cyber threats to the state's infrastructure and economy," said Senator Jack Reed, the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, which oversees the military's cyber programs and strategies for strengthening our national cyber defenses. "I hope this new panel will help the state improve its cybersecurity practices, shore up critical infrastructure, and accelerate the growth of Rhode Island's cybersecurity industry."
"Cyber attacks are a serious threat to American consumers, businesses, and to our critical infrastructure, and I applaud Governor Raimondo for moving forward with a plan to better protect Rhode Islanders and create jobs in the fast-growing cyber field," said Senator Whitehouse, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee's Cyber Task Force in 2010 and has held multiple Senate hearings examining cyber threats. "We have excellent cyber expertise here in the Ocean State, and the Governor's Executive Order can help grow our brand for excellence in this area."
"Technology is an integral part of our lives. We bank, manage our healthcare and shop online. Businesses interact with consumers online and exchange personal financial data. Critical infrastructure like the electric grid and wastewater treatment is increasingly dependent on Internet connectivity. While this creates great efficiencies, it also results in significant vulnerabilities to cyber attack," said Congressman Jim Langevin, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus and a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. "I have been focused on closing our aperture of vulnerability for nearly a decade, and I applaud Governor Raimondo's attention to this critical issue that affects our state's security, economic development and the safety of all Rhode Islanders."
"Cybersecurity presents some of the greatest challenges for Rhode Island and our country today, but it also offers unprecedented opportunities to create new jobs and demonstrate innovation in State government," said Congressman David Cicilline. "I applaud Governor Raimondo for signing this Executive Order and making cybersecurity a priority for her administration."
The members of the Commission will include the Directors of the Emergency Management Agency, the Rhode Island National Guard, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Business Regulation, the Office of Digital Excellence, and the Executive Office of Commerce. The Commission will also include one representative each from a quasi-public agency and a municipal entity. The Governor's Executive Order will leverage expertise in academia and the private sector by including at least three representatives from research institutions in Rhode Island and representatives from each of the following private sector industries in Rhode Island: defense; financial services; information technology; and energy. Scott DePasquale, Chairman and CEO of Utilidata, will be the Chairman of the Commission.
"Governor Raimondo's leadership on cybersecurity is critical for Rhode Island, particularly now as the state's public and private institutions increasingly rely on digital and information technologies for growth," said Scott DePasquale, the Chairman of the Commission. "In addition to the importance of securing our state's cyber-resources, the Governor recognizes the role that innovation in cybersecurity can play in driving Rhode Island's economy. I am grateful and excited that the Governor has asked me to play a lead role on this important commission, and look forward to serving her and my fellow Rhode Islanders."
The Governor's Executive Order tasks the Commission with submitting two action plans. The first plan, due October 1, 2015, will assess cybersecurity infrastructure and activities within all executive branch agencies and recommend ways to enhance the resiliency of government operations. The second plan, due December 1, 2015, will focus on supporting economic growth of the cybersecurity sector and workforce.