GUEST SPEAKER Jeff Sandy, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety cabinet secretary, spoke at the March 15 Weirton Rotary Club meeting. — Contributed
WEIRTON Jeff S. Sandy, West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety cabinet secretary, spoke about the state economy and balancing a $33 million budget that is divided among the West Virginia State Police, state prison system, West Virginia National Guard and state fire marshals during the Weirton Rotary Club s March 15 meeting. Sandy is a 1976 Parkersburg High School graduate, a 1979 Marshall University graduate and a 1980 Federal Law Enforcement Training Center graduate with a designation of special agent with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Criminal Investigations Division. He is designated as a certified fraud examiner and a certified anti-money laundering specialist. From 1982 to 1993, he was assigned to the Presidential Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in the Northern Judicial District of West Virginia. Sandy received the Attorney General Award, West Virginia U.S. Treasury Employee of the Year and Mid-Ohio Valley Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. In 1991, he became the first West Virginia law enforcement officer to be nationally recognized as an expert in the field of money laundering. He has trained federal, state, county and local law enforcement officers, and was selected to train dignitaries from Russia and the Baltic countries in the field of money laundering. In 1993, he accepted the supervisory special agent position for the Southern Judicial District of West Virginia in Charleston. By 1996, his group was recognized as one of the top agencies in the U.S. in a major university study. In 2000, Attorney General Janet Reno and U.S. Attorney Rebecca Betts commended his office for their investigative work on the Keystone Bank failure.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Office of the Secretary of the Treasury designated Sandy as the special agent in charge of the security of a secure facility in the eastern U.S. for 24 days. Sandy volunteered to work on counter-terrorism efforts and worked in Baghdad, Iraq, and Doha, Qatar. He received the honor award from Secretary of the Treasury John Snow and the Department of Defense achievement medal for his investigative work in the Middle East. Sandy cited one of his proudest career moments as when he secured the cooperation of Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister of Iraq, and when the U.S. Department of Defense and United States Army Major General Keith W. Dayton said the following about his work in Baghdad: Agent Sandy participated in dangerous, high stress missions to meet with sources that resulted in actionable intelligence. He conducted a financial investigation of the sale of billions of dollars of Iraqi oil throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. Agent Sandy used all legal means to freeze the former Iraqi regime s assets and protect them from being used by terrorists.
In 2005, he became a member of the U.S. Department of Justice State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training Program. Sandy has been involved in the training of more than 146,000 law enforcement officers in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. He has guest lectured for the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, West Virginia State Police and Fusion Center and dozens of state, county, and local law enforcement agencies. Sandy was elected sheriff of Wood County in 2008. Sandy modernized modernized the office with new investigative techniques and equipment; established an intelligence unit; and started intelligence-based policing. While sheriff, he was selected by Gov. Joe Manchin to serve on the Board of the Regional Jail Authority and was elected Regional Jail Board chair in 2012. He also served on the Board of the West Virginia Sheriff s Association. In 2012, he was named the Marshall University Distinguished Alumnus of the year. In May 2015, he was selected as a speaker at the 10th-annual National Anti-Terrorism Conference in Orlando. He is the author of a training manual for law enforcement, Trace It, that has been provided free of charge to more than 85,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S.
Sandy is married to Renee Moffit of Akron, Ohio, and they have three children.
A successful cyberattack on computer systems that control the U.S. electric grid could cause a long-term blackout and disrupt critical services in the government and private sector, such as the water operations and food supply. Not to mention the local economy would likely shut down, causing people to evacuate in large numbers. Federal and state governments must work together to prevent and respond if a successful cyber attack were to occur, and they must communicate, share information and be aware of the cyber capabilities of each level of government to do so. In 2016, a Government Accountability Office report found that National Guard units have the capabilities to support civil authorities in a cyber incident. However, the Department of Defense is not aware of units capabilities for support. In a letter written this year to Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, who chairs the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, Admiral Mike Rogers confirmed that the National Guard is boosting its capabilities to protect against cyber threats and that the National Guard Bureau is responsible for tracking these abilities. Currently, the cyber expertise of the National Guard is not monitored by the Department of Defense (DoD). To better understand cyber support available in the Guard, Senator Ernst introduced the DOD Emergency Response Capabilities Database Enhancement Act of 2017 which would require DoD to track the National Guard s cyber expertise in an already existing database. At this time, only the Guard s abilities to respond to natural disasters and traditional terrorist attacks are kept on file.
According to Senator Ernst, Cyber warfare is an emerging and ever-evolving battlefield, and we must use all available tools to protect our nation s security, including those that already exist in our National Guard units. The Department of Defense needs to track the Guard s cyber capabilities so that all options are easily identified in the event of a successful cyber-attack on the grid. If a state s Guard defeats a particular cyber threat or attack, information could be shared with various agencies and industry to protect against that threat. Information could be provided about malware (such as viruses and worms), malicious or compromised hardware, and code injection causing a website to do something it is not meant to do. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper have warned that the next battlefront is likely a computer network that supports critical infrastructure such as the electric grid, and have noted that the Guard should be mobilized to support federal and state efforts aimed at countering cyber incursions. The National Guard has cyber units in each of the Federal Emergency Management Agency s 10 response regions. There are about 40 cyber units in 29 states, and they serve as an asset for governors to activate in case of a large-scale emergency or disaster such as a cyber attack on the electric grid. The National Governor s Association has highlighted the Guard as a resource that leaders should capitalize on in the event of a cyber-attack against the grid. The Guard aims to have teams in 34 states with thousands of cyber fighters, according to a Cyberspace Division Chief of the National Guard Bureau.
Maryland s National Guard provides cyber command readiness inspections, critical infrastructure and vulnerability assessments, and supports interagency partners to protect critical infrastructure against cyberattacks. The 135th Intelligence Squadron located nearby analyzes and distributes actionable intelligence to support key coalition partners. California has a Joint Computer Network Defense Team that performs vulnerability assessments, risk identification, incident response and other services for state agencies. and the 261st Network Warfare Squadron of the Air Guard can be called on to respond to cyber incidents. The squadron has worked with the University of Southern California to develop a cyberspace and cyber warfare training environment by modeling warfare principles and doctrine. Michigan is home to cyber ranges that include computing infrastructure, cybersecurity training exercises and product testing. One training center in particular works with the National Guard and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to provide cyber security courses and training exercises to educate the future workforce and protect the grid and the economy from cyber threats.
The state of Wisconsin works with the private sector to address risks associated with cyber-attacks on the electric grid. According to Major General Don Dunbar, Wisconsin Adjutant General and Homeland Security Advisor, state government has a clear responsibility to protect networks and respond to cyber incidents, and information sharing between industry and federal and state governments is necessary to secure the grid.
A Utah husband and wife celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary are among the victims of Wednesday s terror attack near the U.K. s Parliament in London Time
Family members of Melissa Payne Cochran and Kurt Cochran answer questions from the press at New Scotland Yard on March 27, 2017 in London, England.(Photo: Dan Kitwood, Getty Images)
LONDON The family of two American victims of the terror attack in London that killed four people last week have thanked the public for their “kindness and consideration.”
Kurt Cochran, 54, was killed and his wife Melissa injured when attacker Khalid Masood deliberately drove his vehicle into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge on Wednesday. Masood then fatally stabbed a police officer outside the nearby Houses of Parliament, before he was shot dead. The Islamic State claimed Masood as a soldier of the group. Twelve people have been arrested in the investigation and nine of them have been released with no further action, police said. A 30-year-old man detained in the central city of Birmingham on Sunday is in custody, as is a 58-year-old man arrested on Thursday. A 32-year-old woman arrested on Friday has been released on bail. Kurt and Melissa Cochran were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and were on the last leg of a European tour when they were caught up in the attack.
The couple’s family held a press conference at New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police, on Monday morning.
This has been a humbling and difficult experience, but we’ve felt the love of so many people during these past several days,” said Clint Payne, Melissa Cochran s brother.
“It has been a tender experience for our family to be together with Melissa here. Her health is steadily improving and she has been strengthened by the presence of her family. She is so grateful for the outpouring of love and generosity. Payne thanked the medial staff, government agencies in the U.S. and Britain and Delta airlines for their assistance.
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“The most difficult part of all of this is that Kurt is no longer with us, and we miss him terribly. He was an amazing individual who loved everyone and tried to make the world a better place. He left a legacy of generosity and service that continues to inspire us,” he added.
“We are deeply saddened to lose him but are grateful that the world is coming to know him and be inspired by him. Thank you for your many stories that have touched our family and helped us remember and celebrate his life.
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