Gov. Edwards creates cyber security committee/task force

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order while in Bossier City Thursday to enact a statewide Cyber Security Committee/Task Force.

“Never in the history of the country has our national security been so tied to cyber security. Now the Louisiana has become  a hub for cyber related innovation, it’s time to put our resources into practice,” said Gov. Edwards. “This is a really big deal. It’s going to position us to be a leader in our nation in cyber security.”

He noted that the committee will be responsible for coordinating cyber security efforts among state agencies, local agencies, private companies, educational institutions and the military.

Their goals are to identify cyber security threats, promote actions that enhance statewide cyber security, grow Louisiana’s cyber workforce, enhance cyber emergency and response capabilities, and develop comprehensive digital forensic and cyber capability.

The order was signed during a ceremony at Parkway High School, and Director of the Cyber Innovation Center Craig Spohn was named as the head of the task force.

“I want you to think about your future. The thing we need so desperately is an educated workforce to reestablish the economic dominance, the military dominance, the technological dominance the United States enjoyed after World War II. And you guys are going to be the one to build that,” said Spohn.

He implored the students to continue their education and “stay out of trouble” so they could contribute the ongoing cyber warfare and support national security.

“The fight is real. We’ve got real enemies who want to bring us harm,” he said. “It’s amazing we’re here in Bossier City doing the things we’re doing at the forefront in the fight against the bad guys in cyber.”

Gen. Glenn Curtis, adjutant general for Louisiana National Guard, underscored the importance of cyber security.

“The cyber threat to this country is immense and growing larger every day. It is the new space of warfare. You can’t see them most of the time, and they can diminish you without you even knowing it. Then when you get ready to defend yourself, your weapons and communications systems are down.”

Gov. Edwards received a tour of all the STEM programs at the high school and said he was in “awe” of what was being done at the school, saying, “For the rest of your life, you’re going to have opportunities that would not have been available to you but not for the fact that you got your education here at Parkway.”

He noted that Parkway’s STEM curriculum focuses on preparing students for technology jobs that are available locally in Bossier Parish.

“This threat isn’t going to be here for a couple years and go away,” said Gov. Edwards. “So if you want a cutting-edge career that pays a great salary and good benefits, then you should consider cyber security.”