Bob Kolasky, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recently created National Risk Management Center (NRMC), said today that DHS is taking action this month to boost the level of communication and data exchange among state and local election officials in the run-up to the U.S. midterm elections in November.

Speaking during a panel session at an event organized by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, Kolasky noted the role of DHS, and the NRMC that he runs, in helping to protect a range of critical infrastructure sectors including elections infrastructure.

He said that DHS thus far has not observed any serious attempts by nation-state actors to influence U.S. elections infrastructure or processes leading up to the November vote, but noted that nation-state capacity to make such attempts “remains in place.”

Following a “table-top” exercise with state and local elections officials in August, DHS plans to put in place “later this month” additional real-time data-sharing capabilities for election officials through an elections infrastructure information sharing and analysis center (ISAC), Kolasky said.

As a result “we will have consistent heightened communication” through Election Day to protect election systems and give citizens confidence in voting systems, he said.

“We are about to test in a real-world situation,” he said.

Asked more generally during today’s panel discussion what industry can do better to meet the government’s needs for better technology products and services, Kolasky responded that he would like industry to “help with tools to create content” out of data streams, and help with improving the agency’s big data analysis and data visualization. “Those are the things we are looking to industry” to do, he said.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.