Secretary of State Mac Warner announces a new partnership to increase intergovernmental communications focused on protecting our election systems from cyberattack and safeguarding West Virginia’s democratic process.
Today, the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office and the West Virginia Military Authority announced a partnership to embed staff of the West Virginia National Guard into the West Virginia Secretary of State’s continued mission to protect election systems from cyber threats and detect any malicious activity that may occur.
“We’re thankful to be partnering with the West Virginia National Guard on protecting our elections infrastructure,” Warner said. “This partnership should ease the minds of West Virginians that share in the concerns of foreign or domestic cyber interference of our elections process. We will use every resource available to protect our democratic process, ensure voting accuracy, protect voter’s private information, and give the confidence that our state agencies are working together to combat every threat.”
The partnership will provide a member of the West Virginia Air National Guard specializing in Cyber Systems Operations to join the daily operations of the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office to assess elections systems and monitor cybersecurity.
“We’re fortunate to have a host of cybersecurity experts and capabilities in the West Virginia National Guard and look forward to working with the Secretary of State to ensure our election systems are protected from cyber threats,” said Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, The Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard.
This member will be embedded with the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center. The mission of the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center is to anticipate, prevent, and monitor criminal and terroristic activities in the state.
The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) helped to develop the partnership. DHSEM, the Fusion Center and the National Guard are all part of the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
“Ensuring the security of our elections systems is of vital importance,” Secretary Warner said. “It is imperative we stay vigilant to protect our systems, take action to detect threats that may exist and to have a plan for corrective actions if necessary. The agreement to partner with the West Virginia Military Authority is an important step to this goal.”
Secretary Warner serves on the National Association of Secretaries of State’s Election Cybersecurity Task Force, which provides guidance to NASS members on cybersecurity.