NEMA Testifies Before Congress on Enhancing Preparedness and Response Capabilities to Address Cyber Threats

Washington, DC – On Tuesday, May 24, 2016, Mark Ghilarducci, Director, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor, State of California testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of the National Emergency Management Association.

In a joint hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies and the Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subcommittee, Mr. Ghilarducci explained “cybersecurity threats exploit the risks associated with the increased complexity and connectivity of our critical infrastructure, economic systems, and industries, which places our nation’s security, economy and public safety at greater risk.”

The hearing titled, “Enhancing Preparedness and Response Capabilities to Address Cyber Threats” examined how the Department of Homeland Security is assisting states in preparing for and responding to cyber-attacks. Mr. Ghilarducci provided Members with some best practices and lessons learned in enhancing cybersecurity capabilities and how the federal government can help mitigate some of challenges states face.

Mr. Ghilarducci explained, “We recently stood up our California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC) as a way to mature our cyber resiliency, but one of the biggest challenges we face is establishing a blueprint for integrating disparate efforts and mission sets into a unified, coordinated and streamlined operation that reflects the full intelligence cycle from collection, analysis to dissemination, and that supports a robust cyber response.”

Mr. Ghilarducci ended by providing the Committee with some recommendations. He explained, “As a nation we must map out a comprehensive collaborative strategy that delivers timely, cost effective, and actionable responses. This will strengthen our national security by better preparing us to respond to potential disruptions that would have cascading consequences on the country. Collaboration, employee cybersecurity training, enterprise defense-in-depth, and real-time information sharing and processing of indicators of attacks are essential elements of a robust cybersecurity posture for all governments.”

The full witness list is provided below:

  • Mr. Mark Ghilarducci, Director, Emergency Services, Office of the Governor of California
  • Lt. Col. Daniel Cooney, Assistant Deputy Superintendent, Office of Counter Terrorism, New York State Police
  • Brig. Gen. Steven Spano, President and Chief Operating Officer, Center for Internet Security
  • Mr. Mark Raymond, Vice President, National Association of State Chief Information Officers
  • Mr. Robert Galvin, Chief Technology Officer, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

A full video of the hearing and copy of Mr. Ghilarducci’s testimony are available on the House Homeland Security Committees website.

For more information on NEMA, contact Karen Cobuluis, Media Coordinator, at (859) 244-8143 or e-mail

NEMA is the association of professionals dedicated to enhancing public safety by improving the nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from all emergencies, disasters, and threats to our security. NEMA is an affiliate organization of The Council of State Governments, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky.


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Monica Vargas

Monica is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). She has been involved in the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Valley Fire, Butte Fire, historic drought, Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident and 2017 winter storms. She previously served Cal OES as an analyst in international affairs, technology operations and executive staff support.

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