In their State of the States remarks for the National Governors Association (NGA), Chairman and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and Vice Chair and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval emphasized the importance of cybersecurity investment and communication between the Federal government and state governments.

“We can work together to defend our critical infrastructure and data against cyberattacks that cost the United States of America $300 million a year. In Virginia alone last year, we saw 70 million attacks. That is a cyberattack every four seconds,” McAuliffe said.

Upon being named NGA cyber chair in July 2016, McAuliffe announced his 2016-2017 chair’s initiative, “Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge,” which Sandoval applauded for promoting the cybersecurity concerns of the states.

“I truly appreciate him bringing this critical issue forward for all of us,” said Sandoval. “The foundation of today’s economy, national security, and the daily operations of government are increasingly dependent upon the security and reliability of communications technology and other digital infrastructure.”

Last week in his own State of the State address, Sandoval announced the allocation of $3.5 million for the creation of a Cyber Defense Center, which Sandoval said was an imitation of McAuliffe’s own Virginia cyber initiative.

“We really borrowed on Governor McAuliffe’s great work in the state of Virginia,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval and McAuliffe agreed that states could stand as an example of bipartisan cooperation for the Federal government, and encouraged Federal agencies to look to states as a critical resource for cybersecurity policies.

“Like Nevada all states are moving quickly to stay ahead of the threats to our digital economy,” said Sandoval. “And in order to be successful at stopping threats, the Federal government must view states as primary sources of intelligence as well as priority recipients of intelligence from the Federal government. States should be seen as full-fledged partners in gathering, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence in the fight against cyber terrorism.”

The two governors also said that the open nature of infrastructure initiatives that the Trump administration aims to enact could leave the door open to cyber and technology infrastructure investment.

“I would view a broad definition of what infrastructure is if it increases capacity for a state to grow exponentially,” McAuliffe said.

Sandoval, in particular, said that he would like to use increased infrastructure funding to expand broadband access across his state.

“We have some very wide open spaces and I’d love to see some broadband connectivity for the rural residents in my state,” Sandoval said.

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