PHOENIX — Recognizing Arizona’s bipartisan leadership in cybersecurity, the National Governors Association (NGA) has selected Arizona along with five other states to participate in the NGA’s policy academy on election cybersecurity operations. Through the program, Arizona will receive technical assistance from NGA staff to develop, implement and scale training and best practices throughout the state to improve coordination between election officials and reduce cyber-related risks ahead of the 2020 election.
“A secure, reliable voting system is fundamental to our democracy,” said Governor Ducey. “Arizona has been a national leader in cyber technology and fostering collaboration between government, business, and nonprofit sectors. Through this program, we can enhance the positive work happening across our state to make sure Arizona remains at the cutting edge of cyber defense and is as prepared as possible to protect against cyber threats ahead of the coming election. Arizona’s grateful for the opportunity to work with the National Governors Association, election administrators and cyber leaders across the state who have helped make this partnership possible.”
“Elections are part of our country’s critical infrastructure, and we work every day to safeguard the process at every level,” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said. “Bipartisan partnerships with state and federal groups, like this policy academy, provide opportunities to share resources and best practices that will enhance these efforts. We are looking forward to working with the National Governors Association to maintain the integrity of Arizona’s elections in the upcoming 2020 election cycle.”
In May 2019, Governor Ducey and Secretary Hobbs sent a joint letter to the National Governors Association in support of Arizona’s policy academy application, highlighting Arizona’s bipartisan collaboration on matters of cybersecurity. Other states taking part in the program include Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada and Virginia.
Arizona has taken the lead on proactive efforts to ensure cybersecurity. In March of 2018, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order creating the Arizona Cybersecurity Team (ACT), a group of 21 cybersecurity experts from government, the private sector, law enforcement, non-profit organizations, higher education and more. The group is tasked with advising the governor on cyber-related issues, enhancing cybersecurity workforce development, and increasing public awareness of cybersecurity best practices.
Nearly 70 cybersecurity companies already operate in Arizona. Arizona is home to leading cyber institutions such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which houses a first-in-the-nation college completely devoted to cybersecurity, and the University of Arizona, which offers one of the country’s largest cybersecurity programs. Arizona State University houses the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics, and multiple of Arizona’s other colleges and universities offer cybersecurity degrees and programs.
Arizona is home to the Fort Huachuca Army Base in Sierra Vista, which operates as the Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) 9th Signal Command headquarters. The fort also houses the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence.