Posted on Jul 15, 2021 in Latest News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) is pleased to announce three new projects that will focus on strengthening and growing Hawai‘i’s second largest economic driver – the defense sector. DBEDT has initiated contracts with the Military Affairs Council (MAC) of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and local tech company Referentia, through a grant by the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation for Phase III of its Hawaii Defense Economy (HDE) project. DBEDT also contracted CyberHawaii to support local companies with cybersecurity resilience.

“The emerging digital and clean energy in Hawai‘i is well aligned with the mission and purpose of Hawaii’s Defense Economy,” said Mike McCartney, director of DBEDT. “The defense sector will be the basis for the State’s economic diversification and responsible growth by providing new jobs and small business opportunities for the State. Throughout the pandemic, Hawai‘i’s military defense sector remained the State’s second largest economic driver, generating $3.4 billion in business revenues from $2.3 billion in federal contracts and sustaining more than 18,000 jobs statewide. It is important that we continue to support our defense economy and increase opportunities for local businesses to benefit from this stable and lucrative sector.”

The MAC has established a Hawaii Defense Alliance (Alliance) to bring together government, educational institutions and community resource partners across the state to work together to identify challenges within the local defense industrial base, offer solutions, and increase local business opportunities. The Alliance will focus on initiatives in four areas: small business support, workforce development, business ecosystem development, and market development & resiliency.

“The goal of the Alliance is to connect defense-related stakeholders throughout the state in order to maximize partnerships and collaborations to create more job opportunities, while increasing industry diversification and economic resiliency in Hawai‘i,” said Jason Chung, vice president of the Military Affairs Council. “We’re looking to build a sustainable foundation of programs and efforts in which we can continue to expand and grow beyond this contract.”

Referentia’s eResilience division, which specializes in defense industrial base cybersecurity services, will launch its Hawaii Defense Economy Cyber Compliance Education Program today, July 15, 2021. Available to up to 500 Hawai‘i -based DoD contractors, the online education platform offers an educational webinar video to help contractors understand, differentiate and navigate the various DoD cybersecurity contracting requirements. For qualified businesses, eResilience will also provide consulting assistance to up to 40 Hawai‘i-based, DoD contractors handling Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), and support them in completing a NIST800-171 Compliance Gap Analysis to help ensure continued eligibility for new awards and prevent any loss of contracts.

“Navigating the DoD’s new cybersecurity regulations can be very daunting and difficult, and our Hawaii Defense Economy Cyber Compliance Education Program will help clarify the different DoD cybersecurity compliance mandates, to prevent companies from losing or being able to compete for new DoD contracts,” said Nelson Kanemoto, eResilience president. “The free consulting support we’re providing to Hawaii-based DoD contractors handling CUI will help companies understand the complicated compliance requirements and meet their immediate obligations while learning how to prepare for even stricter cybersecurity enforcement just around the corner with even harsher impacts, in the upcoming Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program.”

To register and access the Hawaii Defense Economy Cyber Compliance Education Program, visit defenseeconomy.hawaii.gov/.

DBEDT is also funding a contract with CyberHawaii to launch its Cyber Ready Hawaii program in partnership with the Cyber Readiness Institute. The free program will provide training and mentoring for Cyber Leader professionals who will assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with basic cybersecurity hygiene and safeguarding measures required for compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.204-21.

“Our Cyber Ready Hawai‘i program is training and certifying entry-level cybersecurity professionals for the workforce and helping Hawai‘i  businesses and non-profit organizations prevent and respond to cyber-attacks, as well as meet DoD’s cybersecurity requirements as they compete for federal contracts,” said Jill Tokuda, co-director of CyberHawaii.

To learn more about CyberHawaii’s Cyber Ready Hawaii program, visit cyberhawaii.org/cyber-readiness/.

For more information about Hawai‘i’s military defense sector, and DBEDT’s Hawaii Defense Economy project, visit defenseeconomy.hawaii.gov/.

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