Kilmer, Local Cyber Experts Gather at University of Washington to Discuss How to Upgrade Cyber Defenses

TACOMA, WA – Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) joined local experts at the University of Washington-Tacoma to discuss how the nation can best upgrade its cyber defenses. During the roundtable, Kilmer also announced a plan to introduce legislation that would help state, city, and local governments enhance their preparation, response, and resiliency to cyber-attacks.

States like Washington routinely face cyber-attacks. According to a 2015 Ponemon Institute study, 50 percent of state and local governments faced 6 to 25 cyber breaches in the past 24 months. In the past year hackers also breached more than 200,000 personal voter records in Illinois and Arizona. Most states use less than two percent of their IT budget on cybersecurity.

“Cyber-attacks are a threat to our communities,” said Kilmer. “Too often we hear stories of personal records being compromised by hackers punching holes in our cyber defenses. It’s time we had better protection for consumers, workers, businesses, and governments. That’s why I’ll soon be introducing legislation to give states more tools to fight back against these attacks and encourage the continued growth of a talented cyber workforce in our region and across the nation.”

“The Washington National Guard sincerely appreciates Rep Kilmer's attention, clarity of purpose, and decisive action on the issue of Cyber Security within Washington State,” said Colonel Gent Walsh, Washington Army National Guard. “If the 9/11 experience taught us anything, it's that we can't have another "failure of imagination."   Rep Kilmer's efforts will ensure this state continues to build out a cyber workforce, strengthen public/private information sharing and partnerships, and push dedicated cyber funding to the local level to make us all more resilient.”

“It was an honor to represent Infoblox and the cybersecurity industry at the important cybersecurity roundtable Representative Derek Kilmer hosted in conjunction with the University of Washington Tacoma today where key representatives from all local stakeholders were represented,” said Rod Rasmussen Vice-President, Cybersecurity, Infoblox. “ A major highlight and take-away was our discussion of the proposed cybersecurity legislation Congressman Kilmer is working on that would address head-on some of the current weak points in our cyber defenses: state and local governments - their networks, their roles in cyber response, and in workforce development.  The pragmatic, bipartisan shaped, state-level driven effort outlined so far in the bill would provide a major jumpstart with excellent oversight and guidance to state-level efforts which have largely been floundering around the country.”

The legislation Kilmer will introduce would set up a cybersecurity grant program that would provide resources for states to develop and implement effective cyber resiliency plans; it also encourages states to invest in growing the government cybersecurity workforce.    

Kilmer was joined by higher education professionals, business leaders, and local government and military officials to discuss how to keep the nation’s cybersecurity workforce growing effectively, how the private sector can increase security, and the challenges the military faces against state and non-state actors. The University of Washington Tacoma, where the roundtable was hosted, also has a Master of Cybersecurity and Leadership program.