CCLP partners with the National Governors Association on a 2020 cybersecurity initiative

The USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy partners with the National Governors Association for six in-state cybersecurity workshops to prepare for the 2020 elections

On Wednesday, June 5, the National Governors Association issued a press release announcing that it will hold a series of in-state workshops on cybersecurity and elections in partnership with the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP). The states are Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada and Virginia. The workshops will be funded, in part, by a grant from the Democracy Fund.

From the NGA announcement:

As states prepare for the 2020 election cycle, the National Governors Association will work with six competitively selected states on strategies to improve cybersecurity operations and communications around elections.

Staff from NGA Solutions’ Homeland Security and Public Safety division will assist Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada and Virginia to develop plans for refining and implementing promising practices in cybersecurity operations to ensure the integrity of elections in their states. 

Participants from governors’ offices, election officials and state cabinet agencies will engage in dialogue across state lines and work to enhance interagency communication and cooperation. NGA staff will offer technical assistance to help the states enhance interagency communication and cooperation, promote engagement by governors’ offices, and facilitate the development of statewide response plans for attacks on election infrastructure.

The full NGA release can be found here:


Background on the USC Annenberg Center and the initiative on cybersecurity and elections

The USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy was created a dozen years ago when Professor Geoffrey Cowan stepped down after a decade as Dean of the USC Annenberg School to become a University Professor and to lead a new research and policy center. From the start, one of CCLP’s areas of focus has been the impact of communication technology on society. For more background on CCLP, please visit our website at:

Starting in 2015, CCLP launched a multi-disciplinary initiative on cybersecurity with USC’s schools of communication, engineering, public policy and business. With seed funding from Google, CCLP’s Director of Washington Programs, Adam Clayton Powell III, organized a series of small invitation-only workshops and research meetings in Washington DC. The meetings were co-hosted by Google’s Vint Cerf with participants from government, industry and academic research groups.

In 2016, after attending one of those sessions, the National Governors Association invited USC to be its university research partner, to help state governments with elections and voting systems, health care and hospital systems, and other critical infrastructure. CCLP has held meetings in Washington with state officials and others participating in person or remotely.

Now, thanks to support from the Democracy Fund, the CCLP-NGA partnership will be able to support a number of in-state cybersecurity workshops. After a nationwide competition among state governments, six states were selected for the first round of in-state cybersecurity workshops in the second half of 2019. If resources are available, these workshops will expand to other states in 2020.

“We welcome this opportunity to work the National Governors Association to bring these workshops to locations throughout the U.S.,” said Adam Clayton Powell III, Director of CCLP Washington DC Programs and Project Manager for the cybersecurity initiative. “In addition to strengthening state government security procedures and infrastructure, we will be watching and listening for innovations and prioritizing future programs based on what we learn from the states, the true laboratories of democracy.”