NJ Homeland Security Director Talks Cybersecurity

Chris Rodriguez, Director of the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, talks about the “See Something Say Something” campaign – an effort designed to bring attention to suspicious activity; and shares why Cybersecurity continues to be a topic of discussion amongst citizens.

11/26/16 #635






"Welcome to "Capitol Report." "I'm Steve Adubato. My colleague, Rafael Pi Roman, is on assignment. It is our pleasure to introduce Chris Rodriguez, PhD, the director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Good to see you, Chris. Good to see you, too. For those who do not know, the office does...? So the office is the lead state-level agency responsible for counterterrorism, uh, cybersecurity and emergency preparedness efforts throughout the state, not only for man-made disasters like acts of terrorism but also for natural disasters,like hurricanes. So play out some – hurricanes, one piece of the equation -- some examples of what your office would protect us against. So, on the counterterrorism front, my office provides intelligence-driven analysis and threat reporting to not only state-level agencies but also to local and county officials as they prepare to operate in this very decentralized and diffuse threat environment. On cybersecurity, we manage the country's only active and operational cybersecurity cell at our fusion center in West Trenton. What does that mean, cybersecurity cell? So, in May of 2015, Governor Christie signed the executive order to create the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, known as the NJCCIC. What it is is it's an entity that brings in cyber threat intelligence from a variety of different sources, not only on the state network but also local and county networks. It brings in that information, consumes it, analyzes it and then pushes it back out to the NJCCIC's over 3,000 partners. That includes members from the private sector, public sector and other states as well. We have 36 states that are signed up for our feeds. 42 federal agencies and eight countries that consume our daily feeds on cybersecurity. On emergency preparedness, it is making sure that the State Office of Emergency Management, which is administered by the state police, and other local and county OEMs, offices of emergency management, have the tools and resources they need to prepare their citizens for natural disasters. Chris, play this out for a second. One of the campaigns that we see out there is something called "See Something, Say Something." Mm-hmm. It's a public awareness campaign. Mm-hmm. To achieve what and what is our role as citizens in it? So the -- the threat landscape across the country, and certainly across the world, has changed dramatically since September 11, 2001. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we saw a very hierarchical al-Qaeda organization plotting attacks globally. In the years since, the US and its allies have become very good at dismantling that hierarchy and that structure and that organization. What we've seen arise in its place is homegrown violent extremism, a very decentralized and diffuse threat..."