New bipartisan cybersecurity task force to improve state’s defense against cyberattacks

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Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 3:16 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A new bipartisan cybersecurity task force has been commissioned to improve Kansas’ defense against cyberattacks.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says on Tuesday she created the Governor’s Cybersecurity Task Force to protect the state’s digital infrastructure from increasingly present cyberattacks.

According to Gov. Kelly, the task force has been charged to develop a comprehensive plan to address potential cybercrime and protect essential services that Kansans and businesses depend on.

“As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, it’s critical that we prevent disruptions in essential public services, and protect Kansans’ privacy, economic activity, and public safety,” Governor Kelly said. “Through this bipartisan, collaborative effort, with partners from both the private and public sectors, we will develop a plan to protect our digital infrastructure and improve cybersecurity statewide.”

Gov. Kelly said the task force’s specific duties are as follows:

  • Facilitate cross-industry and cross-government collaboration to share best practices and mitigate cybersecurity risks related to critical infrastructure and protected systems;
  • Identify opportunities to improve the overall cybersecurity posture across all levels of government within Kansas;
  • Identify partnerships and avenues to maximize and leverage existing cybersecurity resources within the state;
  • Develop a framework for coordinated information sharing, response, simulation, testing, and mutual assistance between the government and private sectors;
  • Develop a coordinated and collaborative State of Kansas Cyber Response Plan;
  • Recommend appropriate and cost-effective safeguards to reduce, eliminate, or recover from identified threats to data;
  • Recommend resources and possible methods to accomplish the recommendations identified above.

According to Gov. Kelly, the group is required to submit an initial report to her within the next 90 days which details recommendations and proposals for its work. She said a comprehensive report and recommendations are due by Dec. 5.

Gov. Kelly said the members of the task force are as follows:

  • State Chief Information Technology Officer or designee (ex-officio): Secretary Dr. DeAngela Burns-Wallace
  • State Chief Information Security Officer or designee (ex-officio): Jeff Maxon, Topeka
  • The Adjutant General of the Kansas National Guard or designee (ex-officio): Col. David Hewlett, Wichita
  • The Attorney General or designee (ex-officio): Jay Emler, Lindsborg
  • The Secretary of State or designee (ex-officio): Kevin Comstock, Topeka
  • Representative from the Kansas Department of Emergency Management: Jonathan York, Topeka
  • Director of Kansas Criminal Justice Information System (ex-officio): David Marshall, Topeka
  • Director of the Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center (ex-officio): William (Bill) Glynn, Topeka
  • Representative from municipal governments: Mike Mayta, Wichita
  • Representative from the Regents institution: John Godfrey, Shawnee
  • Representative from critical infrastructure: Charles King, Overland Park
  • Representative from critical infrastructure: John Berghuis, Salina
  • Representative from the joint committee on Information Technology: Representative Kyle Hoffman, Coldwater
  • Representative from the joint committee on Information Technology: Senator Jeff Pittman, Leavenworth
  • Representative of county governments: Doug Peters, (Garden City, Finney County)

To view the executive order, click HERE.

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