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Renewed national focus on cybersecurity?

Renewed national focus on cybersecurity?

Results from our recent News Poll on the impact of the new administration on the security industry, as well as the new administration’s recent National Security Council (NSC) appointments, got me thinking about the continued urgency for a stronger national cybersecurity posture here in the U.S., especially in light of the SolarWinds incident that the government is still trying to unravel.

The truth is, we have known for some time now that nefarious actors can, and have been able to, get in and look around – cyber-wise – our critical infrastructure. And with SolarWinds we learned that these nefarious actors, whether stateside, or overseas (Russia, China, etc.), have a way of also getting into our systems on the ground floor, when we are building them, hanging around and waiting until the right moment to strike. Keep in mind folks, these are just the ones we hear about in the public. The number of attacks that are thwarted on a daily basis is mind boggling, cyber experts will tell you, and the struggle is real and ongoing.

Anyone who knows anything about cyber will tell you that the cybersecurity battle is continuing and never ending, as the cyber war escalates with new and more complex attacks attempted daily, which takes me back to the continuing need to invest in and bolster national security.

It is encouraging to see additional cybersecurity-focused experts added to the NSC, including restoring both the role of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Deputy National Security Advisor and establishing a new position of Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology. The NSC’s primary role, as you all know, is to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies, and to coordinate those policies across government agencies.

Looking at a few of the new appointees, Anne Neuberger, for example, who is the Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, has been serving as NSC’s Director of Cybersecurity, where she leads NSA’s cybersecurity mission, including emerging technology areas like quantum-resistant cryptography.

Dr. Elizabeth D. Sherwood-Randall, who is the Homeland Security Advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor, is a Distinguished Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She served during the Obama Administration as White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction and Arms Control and previously as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the NSC. In the Clinton Administration, Dr. Sherwood-Randall served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.

And finally, Russ Travers, Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, is a 42-year Intelligence Community professional with a career that culminated in service as both the Acting Director and the Principal Deputy Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). Prior to returning to NCTC, he served on the NSC as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Transnational Threat Integration.

Adding an impressive trio like this – and reinstating a previously eliminated security position within the national security team while creating a new one – is a good start at bolstering both our cyber and physical security defenses, because as we all know, once you are in one system, you have the keys (access) to the kingdom!


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