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Sustainability Is Key to State Plans for Federal Cyber Funds

As federal funding for local government cybersecurity comes down through state governments, North Carolina CIO James Weaver explains why it’s essential that projects aren’t just “one and done.”

North Carolina CIO James Weaver
Government Technology/David Kidd
As states work to establish plans for their portions of the $1 billion federal State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, they need to be thinking not only of how those strategies will work in the short term, but their long-term implications as well.

At the National Association of State Chief Information Officers Annual Conference this week, North Carolina CIO James Weaver — also NASCIO’s incoming president for 2024 — said making sure the local government projects they’re supporting aren’t one-off efforts is crucial to ensuring long-term cyber strength. He described the grants as “augmenting” North Carolina’s current security efforts.

The state is well positioned to figure out how to distribute its $26 million share of the federal money through existing partnerships put in place by North Carolina’s Joint Cybersecurity Task Force. Weaver sits on that coalition along with representatives from the state’s emergency management team, plus federal and local agencies. The group is charged with cyber incident response statewide as well as determining the best way to allocate grants.

Making sure the current influx of federal funding provides sustainable benefits is top of mind for state CIOs when it comes to cybersecurity. The cyber grant program will span four years, but jurisdictions at all levels will need well-funded security efforts beyond that, given the ever-evolving threat landscape.

“Especially as we’re working with our local government partners and as they’re putting in their projects for [grants] consideration — and very good projects — we want to make sure it’s not a one-and-done,” Weaver said.

Lauren Kinkade is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.
Noelle Knell is the executive editor for e.Republic, responsible for setting the overall direction for e.Republic’s editorial platforms, including <i>Government Technology</i>, <i>Governing</i>, <i>Industry Insider, Emergency Management</i> and the Center for Digital Education. She has been with e.Republic since 2011, and has decades of writing, editing and leadership experience. A California native, Noelle has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history.