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We do not need a “Department of Stateland Security,” as state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, suggests in her guest column “Shield state from cyberattacks” [Opinion, Jan. 4]. First and foremost, the state and our local governments have proved time and again that state and local government staff members lack experience and expertise to manage the IT infrastructure that is their responsibility. Witness the most recent state Department of Corrections debacle that has haunted the proper management of the prisoners in our state for more than 13 years. The DOC director said it best, “Lack of internal technological know-how” was the source of the problem.

I was on the information services board for the state during the mid-1990s and I can tell you with certainty that there are no state IT departments, either currently chartered, or future agencies, that I would ever consider seeking advice from.

If Roach wants to strengthen the state’s cybersecurity, the first thing that should be done is to hire a professional chief information officer with no political or government background. Consolidate all IT functions into the underutilized $250 million data center in Olympia.

Then optimize the organizational structure and modernize the technology. A report from the Office of the Chief Information Officer dated 2014 suggests that it would take $500 million to $2.3 billion to modernize. That huge range tells me the state does not understand the current in-place technology. That needs to change before the state should even consider setting up a department of cybersecurity.

Bill Anderson, Auburn