PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today signed an executive order establishing Rhode Island's first Homeland Security Advisory Board to provide strategic guidance to the Governor on homeland security and cybersecurity issues. The seven-member Board will work with Cybersecurity Officer Mike Steinmetz, the State Police, the Emergency Management Agency, the Rhode Island National Guard, the Division of Information Technology, and other public and private sector stakeholders to monitor the state's progress on implementing recommendations from the Cybersecurity Commission. The executive order also formally dissolves the Cybersecurity Commission, which last met in December of 2015.
The Cybersecurity Commission was established by Governor Raimondo in 2015 with the goal of developing a clear strategy to better protect Rhode Island from cyber threats while growing the state's industry and economy. One of the Commission's chief recommendations was creating a plan to more strategically integrate cybersecurity into our homeland-security mission. The Homeland Security Advisory Board will oversee the following recommendations from the Cybersecurity Commission:
-Developing a comprehensive statewide strategy to secure Rhode Island from both universal and localized threats, with a particular focus on improving executive branch cybersecurity, skills training, risk management, and technology deployment; -Building a framework for establishing a Rhode Island-based National Cyber Center of Excellence; -Upgrading the state's existing Cyber Disruption Team to create a unified cybersecurity response, information sharing, outreach, and training capability for Rhode Island stakeholders and; -Working with state and national agencies to better integrate existing state and federal law enforcement, intelligence, defense, emergency response, and critical infrastructure protection operations as well as establishing skills exchange programs.
"By strengthening Rhode Island's security, resilience, and preparedness through the Advisory Board, we will be making an investment in the skills and capabilities of working Rhode Islanders--both those working directly in this industry and those thousands more who use the same skills and capabilities in other sectors," said Governor Raimondo.
Cybersecurity related skills currently support approximately 12,070 high-wage jobs in Rhode Island, and the field is expected to grow nearly 12.25 percent by 2024. In order to ensure that Rhode Islanders have the skills they need to get jobs in our growing cybersecurity industry, the State has partnered with the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA) to implement a cybersecurity workforce development plan through Real Jobs RI and launched educational initiatives for high schoolers through the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program.
"I look forward to working with the Homeland Security Advisory Board to better protect our state from cybersecurity threats. Close coordination with law enforcement through our state Fusion Center coupled with robust engagement with the national guard and federal departments and agencies will increase our preparedness," said Steinmetz. "Implementing the recommendations of the Cybersecurity Commission will help the state utilize best practices that will encourage related growth in the field of cybersecurity here in Rhode Island."
The Advisory Board will meet at least twice during the remainder of 2017 and will issue a report evaluating the status of Rhode Island's cybersecurity plan by December. Membership of the Board will be finalized at a later date.