No Cyber Policy, Doctrine, Protection, Result of Senate Hearing

President Trump signed another executive order today. This one is on cyber security and protecting infrastructure. Read it here.

Image result for trump signs executive order BusinessInsider

No one wants to participate in the hard debate regarding cyber, where it is noted to be the highest threat for the homeland. At least the Trump White House is taking note, yet this executive order may not be enough or engage the private sector. It is gratifying however that some inside and outside experts are in fact having talks on an international basis with cyber experts. That is always a good thing.

At issue on this topic is the path forward and the estimated costs. Cyber is a battlespace where it should be noted it could cost what conventional military operations costs against adversaries and could take as long if not forever. All government infrastructure is dated, unprotected and there are no measures to correct in a priority ranking.

The other item of note, there is no legal or case law condition where the cyber attackers are prosecuted. Exactly why did Sony not sue North Korea? If there is no consequence, even ceremoniously, then expect more hacks. Of note, to sue and or sanction North Korea, China would have to be included, as the internet connectivity to North Korea is provided by China and further, China trained the hackers in North Korea….sheesh right?

Politico reports: The directive is Trump’s first major action on cyber policy and sets the stage for the administration’s efforts to secure porous federal networks that have been repeatedly infiltrated by digital pranksters, cyber thieves and government-backed hackers from China and Russia.

“The trend is going in the wrong direction in cyberspace, and it’s time to stop that trend and reverse it on behalf of the American people,” White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert told reporters during a Thursday afternoon briefing.

Cyber specialists say the order breaks little new ground but is vastly improved over early drafts, which omitted input from key government policy specialists. The final version, cyber watchers say, essentially reaffirms the gradually emerging cyber policy path of the past two administrations.

As part of the executive order’s IT upgrade initiative, administration officials will study the feasibility of transitioning to shared IT services and networks across the government. An estimated 80 percent of the $80 billion federal IT budget goes toward taking care of aging systems.

Senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner’s Office of American Innovation will play a significant role in the federal IT modernization effort, multiple people tracking the efforts have told POLITICO. Earlier this month, Trump signed an executive order creating the American Technology Council, with Kushner as director, to help coordinate that effort. More here.

*** Personally, it must be mentioned there is a problem with this operating out of the White House and certainly out of Jared Kushner’s office, he is way too tasked to be effective. Other professionals in the cyber realm agree, the matter of a ‘net’ command and operations that collaborate with the private sector should be it’s own command and separated from NSA.

There was a significant hearing today on The Hill while the FBI hearing was going on. Those on the witness panel included James Clapper, Jim Stavridis and Michael Hayden. The Senate Armed Services Committee hosted this session and it included high rate discussions including why there is no cyber doctrine, why there are no offensive measures and what the highest cyber threats are for the homeland.

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Denise Simon