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Florida Council of 100 makes recommendations to improve homeland security

The Florida Council of 100, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of business and civic leaders, is making recommendations for how to keep Florida, and the nation, safer. The Council sent a letter to John F. Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, after a recent meeting in Tampa that focused on cybersecurity. Here are the recommendations:

May 18, 2017


The Honorable John F. Kelly
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

RE: Request for Action on Cybersecurity

Dear Secretary Kelly:

The Florida Council of 100 just concluded its semi-annual meeting in Tampa, Florida, where we heard from cybersecurity experts and the former Director of the CIA, John Brennan. Although our membership represents a broad spectrum of industries, a well-represented segment includes the Presidents and CEOs of the major utility companies and businesses in the banking, financial, health care, tourism, and commerce sectors. During the three-day meeting, it was abundantly clear that both industry leaders and cybersecurity experts felt that much still needs to be done in the area of cybersecurity policy. On the day the meeting ended, a global cyberattack, WannaCry, impacted some 150 nations. In light of recent and developing issues, we strongly urge you and your department to take immediate active steps within the agency, to include urging for congressional action in addition to the current H.R. 240 on the following items:

  • The establishment of an independent cybersecurity commission that can effectively cross-coordinate with departments and agencies in the U.S. government, which house key elements of cybersecurity policy, intelligence gathering, and enforcement.
  • The establishment of a robust cybersecurity doctrine that clearly delineates a strategy for stopping attacks before they occur. This would include determining how and to what level preemptive steps can and should be taken together with the use of offensive and defensive measures, and what level of attack should generate a response by the U.S. government.
  • A prompt review of the security clearance process for critical infrastructure employees to provide appropriate clearance in as rapid a time possible. One ongoing issue is that senior industry leaders and those directly responsible for managing critical infrastructure are often not able to receive actionable intelligence information and briefings in order to effectively protect resources because they have not been granted a clearance or lack the level of clearance required. While a thorough vetting of security clearance applicants must be maintained, the current process can take up to 18 months or longer and this in turn undermines the ability for the private sector to be effective and responsive to potential threats.

Representing more than 100 companies and more than a half a million employees, the Florida Council of 100 is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of business and civic leaders, which exists to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of all Floridians through the relentless pursuit of better, business-driven public policy
. Formed in 1961, the Council was the first of its kind in the United States, and we work with the Governor, the Legislature, federal leaders and officials, and other private organizations, to further our mission. As the leader of the nation s third largest department of the U.S. government, with a workforce of over 240,000 employees and more than 20 components, including TSA, ICE, CBP, USCIS, FEMA, the Coast Guard, and the Secret Service, you are responsible for many priorities, including, most importantly for this letter, cybersecurity and the protection of critical infrastructure. The Florida Council of 100 commends you for strongly advocating for added protections of our nation from cybersecurity intrusions and encourages additional action that will strengthen our cyber-front from attack.

Please consider our recommendations, but also let us know how we can help. Simply put, prompt, comprehensive action is necessary if we are to mitigate and minimize cyberwarfare s impact on Florida and the rest of our nation.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Florida Council of 100 with any thoughts or questions. We stand ready to help federal, state, and local stakeholders in this effort.


Patrick J. Geraghty
Chair, Florida Council of 100

cc: The Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States
The Honorable Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States
The Honorable Rick Scott, Governor, State of Florida
The Honorable Orrin Hatch, President Pro Tempore, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Charles Schumer, Democratic Leader, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Ron Johnson, Chair, Committee on Homeland Security &
Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Claire McCaskill, Ranking Member, Committee on
Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Bill Nelson, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Marco Rubio, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Paul Ryan, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy, Majority Leader, U.S. House of
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, U.S. House of
The Honorable Michael McCaul, Chair, Homeland Security Committee,
U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member, Homeland Security
Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

The Florida Congressional Delegation, U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Matt Gaetz
The Honorable Neal Dunn
The Honorable Ted Yoho
The Honorable John Rutherford
The Honorable Al Lawson
The Honorable Ron DeSantis
The Honorable Stephanie Murphy
The Honorable Bill Posey
The Honorable Darren Soto
The Honorable Val Demings
The Honorable Daniel Webster
The Honorable Gus M. Bilirakis
The Honorable Charlie Crist
The Honorable Kathy Castor

The Honorable Dennis Ross
The Honorable Vern Buchanan
The Honorable Tom Rooney
The Honorable Brian Mast
The Honorable Francis Rooney
The Honorable Alcee L. Hastings
The Honorable Lois Frankel
The Honorable Ted Deutch
The Honorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz
The Honorable Frederica Wilson
The Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart
The Honorable Carlos Curbelo
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Ms. Julie Emanuel Brown, Chairman, Florida Public Service Commission
Mr. Bryan Koon, Director, Florida Division of Emergency Management

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