WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Steve Daines took to the Senate floor to underscore the gaping holes in the cybersecurity of the United States, while also reflecting on his first biannual Montana High Tech Jobs Summit, which took place in Bozeman earlier this week.
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Daines made the following remarks on the Senate floor:
“Mr. President, this generation is at the forefront of technological advances. In fact it’s making the United States and this generation that lives here one of the best networked in history – not only here, but around the world.
“The need for new and better technology to accommodate such a generation has also left a gaping hole in the security of our country.
“In recent years, cybersecurity attacks and breaches have multiplied and left American citizens incredibly vulnerable.
“Make no mistake – the cybersecurity of the United States is in grave danger. Unfortunately, the proper precautions and reforms needed to set a better course have yet to be taken.
“Just take a look at last week’s headlines. USA Today recently reported hackers have attempted to compromise the Department of Energy over 1,100 times between 2010 and 2014. These attackers have been successful over 150 times.
“In a 2013 breach, these attackers gained access to information on over 104,000 Energy Department employees. After these attacks the auditors noted ‘unclear lines of responsibility’ and a ‘lack of awareness by responsible officials.’
“Yet, nothing was done to mitigate the potential for future attacks.
“Our government needs to stop being content with simply being reactive to serious cybersecurity threats. There are no deterrents or consequences to these foreign attackers.
“Not one person at the Department of Energy has faced consequences. The CIO of Office Personnel Management remains in charge after one of the largest hacks on federal employees.
“In an age ruled by technology, it is our responsibility to make sure we take the necessary steps to protect the information of our people.
“That’s why this past Monday, I held the first biannual Montana High Tech Jobs Summit in my hometown of Bozeman at my alma mater Montana State University. We had over 600 Montanans attend.
“We need to be more disruptive of the status quo in the technology sector, rather than passively sitting by as other nations innovate and leave us behind.
“We need to encourage STEM education in our classrooms and bring more people into the sciences and technology sector.
“In my home state of Montana, high-tech jobs are growing 8 to 10 times faster than statewide job growth rate.
“Last year alone, 40 percent of the wage growth in our entire state took place in Gallatin County, the county where Bozeman is located and has become a hub of technology.
“Yet too often, Montana kids have to leave to find work. We need more, high-paying technology jobs in Montana.
“During my time at the cloud computing company, RightNow Technologies – which was founded, started up, and grew to a company that was acquired by Oracle for $1.8 billion dollars – over the 12 years I was there, I saw firsthand how Montana is becoming a leading hub for innovation and high-tech job growth.
“Montana has a qualified workforce and an unparalleled quality of life that makes our state a wise investment for tech companies.
“In fact, where the campus of our software company is located in Bozeman, we were just minuets away from the Gallatin River.
“The Gallatin River was the river where the movie A River Runs Through It was filmed – where Brad Pitt made his great debut directed by Robert Redford.
“This Tech Summit showcased the great work being done in our state. A state where you can combine the quality of life of fishing, hunting, backpacking, mountain climbing, spending time with family outdoors with technology and creating world class high-tech companies.
“Millennials want to be able to have that quality of life, but they also want to have world-class careers in building global companies.
“It allowed our nation’s tech leaders to share their views and experiences, and encourage our future tech leaders to lead.
“It provided a unique opportunity for our state’s tech and business leaders to learn from one another.
“We had a great slate of speakers and panelists from across the technology industry:
- Laef Olson, the Senior VP for Cloud Operations at Oracle
- Dr. Dava Newman – a Montana native and the new Deputy Administrator at NASA
- We had two of the five FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly
- Doug Burgum, the former CEO and Chairman of Great Plains Software. Great Plains Software was started up in North Dakota, he grew that company and it acquired by Microsoft in 2001 for $1.1 billion dollars. The largest acquisition at that time for Microsoft. Now, Doug is co-founder and partner of Arthur Ventures Founder and Chairman of the Kilbourne Group.
- Craig Barrett, who received his undergraduate, masters and Ph.D. at Stanford. He was a professor at Stanford for 10 years in Engineering. Then went to this small company in 1974 called Intel and there, rose all the way to CEO. He also worked with Gordon Moore who became a CEO of Intel, who was famous for Moore’s Law.
- Mike Goguen, the managing partner at Sequoia Capital, a company that was an early and initial investor in companies like Google, YouTube, Apple and PayPal
- Will Lansing, a former board member of RightNow Technologies, now the CEO of FICO.
- Matt Rose, the BNSF Railway Executive Chairman
“Our panelists explored issues of critical importance to our technology sector, our cybersecurity infrastructure, and our economy. All of these individuals convened in Bozeman on Monday.
“You don’t think about the Gallatin Valley as being the hub of technology— maybe Silicon Valley— but as the world is changing, as technology is removing geography as a constraint, you have places where the quality of life is exceptional – where you are an hour away from Yellowstone National Park and can grow world class high tech companies there.
“We heard from cybersecurity professionals from Microsoft and Facebook that we need to not only run faster, technically speaking, but work together between the private and public sector to fend off potential hackers.
“We heard how technology is removing geography as a constraint.
“We heard how companies are adopting innovative cybersecurity practices to keep consumers’ information safe while maintaining global competitiveness.
“We learned about the importance of maintaining and advancing our technology infrastructure and the factors that affect start up companies’ ability to grow, attract investments and create jobs.
“We have great technology leaders moving our country forward and working to protect our country. We need to run faster than those seeking to destroy us.
“We need to ensure that we don’t have burdensome regulations facing our entrepreneurs and our companies. We need to encourage policies that drive innovation.”