CISA Releases Election Security Plan Following GAO Criticism

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released its #Protect2020 Strategic Plan for election security Feb. 7, one day after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) slammed the agency’s election security preparedness.

“In the field of election security, it is not possible to identify all system vulnerabilities and defend them in all scenarios,” the report explains. “However, it is CISA’s mission to elevate the security posture of our Nation’s election systems to make these intrusions more difficult, identify them when they occur, and ensure that they do not affect the overall outcome of the election.”

The plan details CISA’s four lines of election security effort – election infrastructure, campaign and political infrastructure, the American electorate, and warning and response – and key actions in each area. In its objectives, CISA has prioritized partnerships with the private sector, information sharing with stakeholders, and real-time cyber vulnerability assessments.

Emergency response posters, interactive checklists, and infographics accompany the report as real-time tools that state and local election officials can use to inform and prepare their teams for 2020.

“This needs to be a whole of nation effort. State and local election officials are on the front lines, and the role of the Federal Government is to make sure that they are prepared,” CISA Director Christopher Krebs wrote in the plan.

In the Feb. 6 GAO report, CISA promised that the accompanying operational plan will also be out this month. Auditors were critical of CISA’s inability to release both parts of the plan and feared that planning delays left the agency poorly positioned to secure elections nationwide.

Katie Malone
About Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.

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