The local connection

The need for state involvement in federal homeland security initiatives has become increasingly apparent in recent months. The next step, many people argue, is to involve city and county officials.

Public Technology Inc., an association that focuses on information technology issues of interest to cities and counties, recently started talks with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers about a potential collaboration, according to Brian Anderson, the association's CIO.

With guidance from the federal government's Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office, PTI also is facilitating discussions among municipal officials and is developing an extensive guidebook on critical infrastructure protection as well as an executive call to action. It recently convened a two-day discussion on the issue in Washington, D.C., involving several elected and appointed officials and IT staff.

"The consensus is there is a need to develop a national forum and information practice and dissemination, but the consensus is we should also build regional coalitions," Anderson said.

Local governments know they are not immune to cyberattacks that could affect their systems, he said, and municipalities need not just best practices, but affordable resources to implement better security plans. That also includes consulting, which PTI is offering, he added.

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