Many of you have read news stories regarding Army National Guard enlistment bonuses and other monetary incentives that soldiers have been ordered to repay.
There is a federal investigation into the repayment issues as well as active federal consideration of possible remedies; both of these developments are positive. The Department of Defense has suspended repayments while the investigation is ongoing. It is my understanding that the ultimate authority to waive these repayments lies at the federal level; however, the California Military Department has created the Soldier Incentives Assistance Center (SIAC) to help address this issue and support affected soldiers.
I am outraged that Soldiers and their families who innocently relied on enlistment promises the Guard made to them have been told to repay that money. Later today I will sign a joint letter from both the Assembly and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committees urging Congress to act on this matter. However, I am greatly concerned that relief, even once Congress acts, will come too late for Soldiers who have already complied with orders to repay. I have asked the Guard for an accounting of how many such soldiers are affected. I want to make sure that those innocent soldiers who complied quickly are also taken into account in any solution. It is important to note, the California National Guard established the Soldier Incentive and Assistance Center (SIAC) to advocate for affected soldiers and support their appeals. Through this process, the California National Guard has helped about 4,500 soldiers retain approximately $40 million in bonus money. We will update you as we work to resolve this important issue.
Legislators who take the time to study cybersecurity issues and ask tough questions of CIOs and CISOs are still the exception rather than the rule. But that may be changing.
In March 2016, just a few weeks after a contentious legislative oversight hearing, Michele Robinson, California’s chief information security officer (CISO), stepped down. The Feb. 24 hearing’s focus was a 2015 audit that questioned the state government’s cybersecurity preparedness.
A year after a scathing report described California’s information security as weak and vulnerable, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation intended to beef up state agency response standards.
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