New Cyber Security Push Is Urged

New Cyber Security Push Is Urged
December 8th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: New Cyber Security Push Is Urged

New Cyber Security Push Is Urged
Wall Street Journal
December 8, 2008
Pg. 3
New Cyber Security Push Is Urged
By Siobhan Gorman
WASHINGTON -- 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 Center for Strategic and International Studies assembled the commission in August 2007 after a spate of cyberattacks at several federal agencies.
In setting up the commission, CSIS chose members who were expected to land in either a Democratic or Republican White House. Its four chairmen are a bipartisan group, including the top Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security subcommittee that handles cyber security.
"This will be at least part of the template of the incoming team and part of the template for the incoming Congress," said James Lewis, project director for the commission and chief of the technology policy program at CSIS.
President-elect Barack Obama's transition team is expected to use the commission's recommendations to help chart a path for the sprawling $15 billion cyber-security initiative launched this year by the Bush administration.
Mr. Obama, who promised to make cyber security a top priority, has created a separate group on his transition team dedicated to cyber security, led by Paul Kurtz, a member of the commission and a former cyber-security aide to the National Security Council in the Clinton and Bush administrations, according to several people familiar with the transition. A handful of other commissioners also are working for the transition.
Some of the commission's recommendations parallel proposals Mr. Obama made on the campaign trail. Mr. Obama criticized the Bush administration for being too slow to address cyber threats and vowed to create "a national cyber adviser" who would report directly to the president.
An Obama transition team spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.
"America's failure to protect cyberspace is one of the most urgent national security problems facing the new administration," the commissioners write. The battle in cyberspace, they say, "is a battle we are losing."

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