ATLANTA – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joined the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), and state and local election officials from around the country today to convene the first Government Coordinating Council (GCC) for the Election Infrastructure Subsector. Today’s meeting is part of the department’s ongoing work with state and local officials as we build trusted relationships to help keep the nation’s election systems secure. The 27-member council includes three representatives from the federal government, with the remaining 24 representing state and local governments. The GCC framework provides a well-tested mechanism for sharing threat information between the federal government and council partners, advancing risk management efforts, and prioritizing focus of services available to sector partners in a trusted environment. Participation in the council is entirely voluntary and does not change the fundamental role of state and local jurisdictions in overseeing elections.


“Today’s council meeting shows the seriousness with which federal, state and local officials take the threats to election infrastructure, and the level of cooperation taking place to address it,” said Bob Kolasky, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of the DHS National Protections and Programs Directorate. “State and local officials have already taken a number of steps to improve the security of the nation’s elections, and under the Government Coordinating Council we will be able to further leverage resources and our collective expertise. The security of the nation’s elections are critical to our democracy, and DHS stands ready to support this important mission through exercises, information sharing, and technical cyber analysis and expertise.”


The GCC structure is established under the department’s authority to provide a forum in which the government and private sector entities can jointly engage in a broad spectrum of activities to support and coordinate critical infrastructure security and resilience efforts. It is used in each of the critical infrastructure sectors established under Presidential Policy Directive 21 on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience.

In January, DHS designated election infrastructure as a subsector of the existing Government Facilities critical infrastructure sector. The designation did not create any new regulations or directives, but instead enabled DHS to prioritize cybersecurity assistance to state and local election officials who request it, made clear domestically and internationally that election infrastructure enjoys all the benefits and protections of critical infrastructure that the U.S. government has to offer, and enabled full and frank discussions between DHS and key stakeholders regarding sensitive vulnerability information.


Members of the GCC for the Election Infrastructure Subsector include:

  • Lori Augino, Director of Elections, Washington
  • Chris H. Chambless, Elections Director, Clay County, Florida
  • Judd Choate, Director of Elections, Colorado*
  • Jim Condos, Secretary of State, Vermont
  • Edgardo Cortes, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections
  • Bob Giles, Director, Division of Elections, New Jersey
  • Mark Goins, Coordinator of Elections, Tennessee
  • Ricky Hatch, Clerk/Auditor, Weber County, Utah
  • Thomas Hicks, Vice Chairman, U.S. Election Assistance Commission
  • Sarah Johnson, City Clerk, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Neal Kelley, Registrar of Voters, Orange County, California
  • Bob Kolasky, Acting Deputy Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security*
  • Connie Lawson, Secretary of State, Indiana
  • Linda Lamone, Administer of Elections, Maryland State Board of Elections
  • Matthew Masterson, Chairman, U.S. Election Assistance Commission*
  • Denise Merrill, Secretary of State, Connecticut
  • Paul Pate, Secretary of State, Iowa
  • Noah Praetz, Director of Elections, Cook County, Illinois*
  • Steve Reed, Probate Judge, Montgomery County, Alabama
  • Tom Schedler, Secretary of State, Louisiana
  • Jake Spano, Chief of Staff/Deputy Secretary of State, Minnesota
  • David Stafford, Supervisor of Elections, Escambia County, Florida
  • Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Secretary of State, New Mexico
  • Todd Valentine, Co-Executive Director, New York State Board of Elections
  • Linda von Nessi, Clerk of the Essex County Board of Elections, New Jersey
  • Mac Warner, Secretary of State, West Virginia
  • Michael Winn, Director of Elections, Travis County, Texas


*GCC Executive Committee Member


UN calls for support for World Tsunami Awareness Day

The UN General Assembly has designated Nov. 5 as World Tsunami Awareness Day. Each year, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction calls on governmental and nongovernmental organizations to observe the day by engaging in efforts to raise tsunami awareness and share innovative approaches to risk reduction. For the second year in a row, World Tsunami Awareness Day will align with the International Day for Disaster Reduction and the “Sendai Seven Campaign” and focus on the second target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which aims to “reduce the number of affected people globally” by disasters. Visit http://www.tsunami.gov/ to learn about the U.S. Tsunami Warning System and its ongoing efforts to minimize the impacts of tsunamis in the U.S. and around the world.

FEMA releases the refreshed National Incident Management System

On Oct. 17, 2017, FEMA released the refreshed National Incident Management System (NIMS) to ensure that this important guidance continues to reflect the collective expertise of the whole community. NIMS applies to all incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity. Through an iterative process of engagement with stakeholders from across the nation, FEMA reviewed more than 3,000 comments to update NIMS guidance and incorporate the collective expertise and experience of the whole community. FEMA will host a series of 60-minute webinars to discuss the updates in the refreshed NIMS and answer questions related to NIMS. The webinars will be announced soon.

DHS Is Accepting Applications until Nov. 3 for the 2018 Public-Private Analytic Exchange Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are inviting private sector partners who are U.S. citizens to apply for the 2018 Public-Private Analytic Exchange Program (AEP). The AEP enables intelligence community analysts and private sector partners to gain a greater understanding of how their disparate, yet complementary, roles can work in tandem to ensure mission success. Participants work on topic-focused teams over six months to create joint analytic products of interest to both the private sector and the U.S. Government. The program begins with a kick-off event in January 2018 and concludes with a summit in August 2018. Applicants from all industries are encouraged to apply if they have an interest and/or demonstrated expertise in at least one of the 2018 topics. Applicants are welcome to express an interest in up to three of the 2018 topics, but each selected program participant will only be assigned to one team. Applications from first-time participants will be given priority consideration over those of 2016 and 2017 AEP participants. Selected applicants will be notified of their selection in November 2017 and will be expected to attend a kick-off meeting in Washington, D.C., in January 2018. Download the 2018 AEP overview, topics, application form and instructions, and supervisory endorsement form. Deadline for applications is Nov. 3, 2017.

IAEM-Canada and EPIC partner to provide EM podcasts in Canada

IAEM-Canada has partnered with Emergency Preparedness in Canada Podcast, an educational podcast aimed at emergency managers of all types. “There is great content to find from some of our most respected emergency management practitioners in Canada – give it a listen,” said Greg Solecki, CEM, IAEM-Canada President. The most recent podcast, broadcast Oct. 11, 2017, on the complexities of campus emergency management, is one of 11 podcasts now available. You are invited to listen, as the series explores emerging disaster trends, interviews key Canadian emergency management professionals, and reviews both new and landmark EM literature.

Risk Assessment Methodology Feedback Webinar

FEMA will host a webinar October 12 from 2-4 p.m. Eastern Time to gain feedback on potential enhancements to the Fiscal Year 2018 State Homeland Security Initiative (SHSP) and Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) risk assessment methodology. Assistant Administrator for Grant Programs Thomas DiNanno will host the webinar along with a question and answer session.

Please submit enhancement ideas, comments, or questions on the risk assessment process beforehand to FEMA-MSA-Process@fema.dhs.gov. Questions should focus on a specific area of the assessment, provide a tangible set of data, or portion of the methodology that could be added, improved, or updated. Also, there will be the opportunity to pose a question or comment during the webinar in the comments section or by sending an email to FEMA-MSA-Process@fema.dhs.gov.

There will be no conference line as all audio will be through the webinar. Please test your capabilities to hear the audio online through your computer’s browser software, speakers or headset.

Registration Link: https://icpd.adobeconnect.com/risk10121/event/registration.html. Please register for the webinar beforehand. If a pop-up asks for your credentials (username and password), first click cancel and then you will be taken to the registration page. Test your Adobe Connect connection at: https://fema.connectsolutions.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm prior to the meeting. The webinar will offer captioning.

Proposed NFPA Standard 2400 for small unmanned aircraft systems open for public review until Oct. 13, 2017

The NFPA Technical Committee on Unmanned Aircraft Systems has released the first draft of the proposed NFPA Standard 2400, “Standard for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations,” for public review and comment until Oct. 13, 2017. The standard will cover the minimum requirements related to the operation, deployment, and implementation of sUAS for public safety operations. Access to the draft standard and a link to provide online feedback are posted online.