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Gov. Kevin Stitt issues executive order to prepare Oklahoma for possible Indo-Pacific conflict

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat (left) and House Speaker Charles McCall (right) sit behind Gov. Kevin Stitt (center) at the 2024 State of the State Address.
Legislative Service Bureau
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat (left) and House Speaker Charles McCall (right) sit behind Gov. Kevin Stitt (center) at the 2024 State of the State Address.

His latest executive order directs OMES to take preemptive and protective action against potential cyberattacks coming from China.

Stitt’s Executive Order mandates the Office of Enterprise and Management Services, or OMES, to annually audit the state for vulnerabilities to attacks from the Chinese Communist Party, and to implement solutions to combat such attacks preemptively.

Those attacks could be cybersecurity breaches of state agency networks and systems, threats to state or national economic security and public health, or the disabling of electric and water infrastructure, Stitt writes.

In the justification for the executive action, Stitt points to federal cybersecurity and intelligence officials' claims that China is at the top of a list of aggressive “foreign adversaries” engaging in the cyber espionage of Americans.

The order’s first sentence includes a December 2023 statement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s cyber and infrastructure security executive director Brandon Wales.

“Chinese attempts to compromise U.S. critical infrastructure are in part to pre-position themselves to be able to disrupt or destroy that critical infrastructure in the event of a conflict,” Wales’ statement reads.

Among the other nations listed as threats are Iran, North Korea, Russia, Cuba and Venezuela.

An assessment of the state’s vulnerabilities is to be delivered to the governor and legislative leadership within 90 days of the order, to be followed by the state’s divestment from at-risk assets.

The goal, Stitt writes, is to protect public and private enterprises in the event of conflict with China. That means shucking any reliance on Chinese manufacturing or trade under the foresight that an attack on the American mainland would include attempts to severe economic supply chains to consumers that China controls.

The move comes just a few weeks after Stitt signed Senate Bill 1705 prohibiting the ownership of land by certain foreign individuals and businesses.

Copyright 2024 KOSU

Lionel Ramos