Gov. Little launches Cybersecurity Task Force with special focus on elections security

(IDAHO FALLS, Idaho) – Governor Brad Little announced today the formation of a new task force to advance cybersecurity initiatives in Idaho.

The Governor’s Cybersecurity Task Force will provide recommendations to improve business, government, and personal cybersecurity defenses and enhance the educational pipeline for cybersecurity workforce needs. It will identify cybersecurity assets, resources, and public-private partnerships across Idaho.

In addition, Governor Little directed the task force to examine and propose new ways to ensure Idaho’s election infrastructure remains secure, transparent, and resilient from new and evolving threats.

Governor Little is honored to have former Secretary of State Ben Ysursa as a member of the task force to address this important issue.

“Through the Idaho National Laboratory, the State of Idaho is home to unique and world-leading capabilities in countering cyber-attacks and engineering solutions to the cybersecurity challenges facing our state and nation. We’ll need increased resources, partnerships and active collaboration between a broad range of organizations to successfully protect from ever-growing cybersecurity threats, and I’m confident my Cybersecurity Task Force is up to the task.,” Governor Little said. “I’m also asking the task force to find new ways to protect Idaho’s election infrastructure because fair and free elections are a hallmark of Idaho’s proud representative democracy and the expectation of every Idahoan. I appreciate longtime Secretary of State Ben Ysursa for his participation on my task force.”

The task force will also explore opportunities to raise awareness, inform and educate potential victims of cybersecurity threats, including citizens, businesses, critical infrastructure operators, and state and local government.

Idaho Department of Commerce Director Tom Kealey and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Associate Laboratory Director Zach Tudor will co-chair the task force.

“Cyber-attacks are now ubiquitous in modern society. Without the proper procedures and infrastructure in place, all Idaho citizens, businesses, and organizations are potentially at risk,” Director Kealey said. “Through collaboration and partnership between the more than 200 Idaho businesses that offer cybersecurity products and services, and public sector organizations like Idaho National Laboratory and Idaho higher education institutions, Idaho has the opportunity to advance cybersecurity initiatives and innovations to defend against these critical global threats.”

“It’s a privilege and honor to co-chair this task force with Director Kealey and I thank Gov. Little for his foresight in establishing it,” INL Associate Laboratory Director Tudor said. “Cybersecurity is one of the most important national security issues of our time and Idaho now has an opportunity to set itself apart from other states in how we plan, prepare and respond to these challenges.”

The task force is comprised of private sector cybersecurity experts, including representatives from financial technology, network security, and public utilities, as well as government officials, including representatives from INL, Office of Emergency Management and Office of Information Technology Services, and Idaho research universities. In addition, the task force includes three legislators.

The task force plans to meet four times between August and November of 2021 and provide a set of recommendations to the Governor in early 2022.

The task force’s first meeting will be Aug. 19. Meeting details and other information about the task force are available at commerce.idaho.gov/cybersecurity.

– Tom Kealey, Idaho Department of Commerce Director, CO-CHAIR
– Zach Tudor, Associate Laboratory Director, National & Homeland Security, Idaho National Laboratory, CO-CHAIR
– Ben Ysursa, former Secretary of State
– Brad Wiskirchen, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Equifax
– Frank Harrill, Vice President of Security for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
– Brad Richy, Idaho Office of Emergency Management Director
– Jeff Weak, State of Idaho Information Technology Services Administrator
– Ryan White, U.S. Senator Jim Risch’s Chief of Staff
– George Mulhern, Cradlepoint CEO
– Jeff Newgard, Bank of Idaho CEO and President
– Lisa Grow, Idaho Power CEO and President
– Anand Bahl, Chief Information Officer, CVP for Micron Technology
– Domini Clark, Blackmere Consulting CEO
– Ed Vasko, Director of the Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity at Boise State University
– Dr. Scott Snyder, Idaho State University Dean of Science and Engineering
– Toni Broyles, Special Assistant to the President at the University of Idaho
– Senator Jim Woodward, District 1
– Representative Brooke Green, District 18
– Representative Dustin Manwaring, District 29

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NEWS MEDIA CONTACT: Marissa Morrison, Press Secretary
208-943-1686 or marissa.morrison@gov.idaho.gov