A commission of technology experts will propose consolidating cyber security work under a top White House official and using diplomatic, intelligence and military tools to confront threats in cyberspace.
The new White House post is likely to be the most controversial of the commission’s recommendations, which will be released Monday. In its report, the commission compared the job to that of the director of national intelligence. The cyber chief would report to the president and have his own staff of 10 to 20 people who would work with a beefed-up National Security Council cyber staff and federal agencies to implement the president’s cyber policies.
U.S. agencies from the Pentagon to the Department of Homeland Security as well as Pentagon contractors have experienced major cyber break-ins. Intelligence officials estimate U.S. losses from cyber breaches to be in the multiple billions of dollars.
Under the Bush administration, the Department of Homeland Security has been the public face of cyber-security efforts, but the commission concluded it isn’t equipped to handle a threat with military, criminal and intelligence components.
The commission’s recommendation to update the government’s legal authorities to protect and defend cyberspace in the U.S. is likely to incite furious debate. Rewriting laws to enhance the government’s investigative powers in cyberspace will raise many of the same privacy issues that Congress encountered in its debate over expanding surveillance powers.
The full report is available here.