A report issued May 31 by the New America Foundation’s Cybersecurity Initiative recommends that the Federal government consider three “priority efforts” to help state governments advance their own efforts to improve cybersecurity, including “designating specific cybersecurity funding that is linked to national priorities.”

“Such funding mechanisms could provide guidance to state and local policymakers and help streamline the national ecosystem,” the report says.  “While cybersecurity remains a line item in other funding mechanisms, it necessarily remains more generic and less supportive of current policy and strategic initiatives.”

The report further recommends that the Federal government take steps to deconflict and streamline Federal incident response, guidance, and assistance programs, saying that “current stovepiped structures create conflicting guidelines in many areas such as incident reporting and regulatory requirements.”

Finally, the report says the Federal government should take steps to institutionalize “the expansion of formal localized assistance programs,” particularly from Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Defense Department (DoD), state, local, tribal and territorial efforts “that rely heavily on personal connections” and “for which the existing programs are currently under resourced and/or immature nationally.”

On the state front, the report recommends that states take a variety of steps to advance their cybersecurity efforts, including formalizing “trust-based” relationships with the private sector, codifying roles, responsibilities, and authorities in law or via executive orders, and creating “cross-bureaucratic agreements or structures” that help to “break down stovepiping and align all of state incentives.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.