Chief Deputy Secretary of State, BSU Adjunct Faculty
INSURE Center, Idaho Sec of State
Criticality of System and Process Definition in Countering Distrust
Chad Houck is the founder of Opearent, a nonprofit created to provide states with the tools to better administer elections. Finishing his final month as Idaho’s Chief Deputy Secretary of State and with a former consulting focus on operational and process improvements in IT and commerce, Chad was responsible for all aspects (Fiscal, Elections, IT, and Corporate divisions) of the Secretary of State office, including both the state appropriated budget and IDSOS Federal Grants programs. Mr. Houck served on the 2017 and 2022 Idaho Governor’s Cybersecurity Task Forces and has assisted in execution of both virtual and in-person elections cybersecurity exercises in partnership with DHS, BSU, Harvard, and the state of Idaho. As a co-founder and Adjunct Faculty of the INSURE Elections Cybersecurity Center at Boise State University, Mr. Houck has provided testimony and presented at various security conferences and legislative hearings around the nation for CISA, the National Association of Secretary of State, Idaho Legislature, the Great State of Louisiana, and the Naval Postgraduate School, where Houck received his Master’s in Homeland Security Studies in 2021.
Using the elections administration processes as a backdrop, we will examine the necessity for thorough definition of a problem prior to proposing solutions. The American public has spent over 4 years now heavily discussing the concept of “election integrity”, yet little has been done to actually put a clearly defined backdrop on the conversation. Elections are complex systems, decentralized and diversified at multiple jurisdictional levels, and yet society seems to have a one size solves all approach to a multi-faceted problem set. Only in knowing which specific vulnerability, threat vector, or weakness one is addressing can we realistically propose proper mitigations that fill or shrink the defensive void.