Connecting state and local government leaders
The state is the first to publicly say it will receive federal funding under the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Grant Program.
After months of anticipation, the dam appears to be breaking on states receiving federal grants to boost cybersecurity.
Pennsylvania earlier this month became the first state to say publicly it is eligible for funds: up to $5.2 million in the first year of the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Grant Program (SLCGP).
The state said the funding will be used to continue and expand cybersecurity services available to local governments through partnerships with the Pennsylvania Office of Administration. Those services include security awareness training, anti-phishing exercises, vulnerability testing and monitoring for network intrusions.
Currently, those services are funded by an election security grant, which is expiring. Funding them through the SLCGP is in keeping with the goals of the grant program, which requires that 80% of support go to local governments through cash or services with the aim of fostering greater cooperation between states and their localities.
Neil Weaver, secretary of the Office of Administration, said in a statement that Pennsylvania is in “prime position” to take advantage of the federal grant funding given the strong relationships it has built between state and local governments.
Once it receives its grant funding, Pennsylvania officials said local governments could apply for funds through a competitive grant program the state will administer in the second through fourth years of the SLCGP.
The state also established a Cybersecurity Planning Committee, per the grant’s requirements, to develop a comprehensive strategic plan and identify projects to make use of SLCGP funds. The committee includes representatives from a slew of state agencies and law enforcement, as well as associations that represent local elected officials.
"With limited budgets, it is essential that all levels of government in Pennsylvania work together to address ever-growing cyber threats,” Michael Sage, chief operations and information officer at the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, said in a statement.