• The United States is preparing to enter a period when its infrastructure goes beyond being connected to or depending on cyberspace but instead will reside in cyberspace. Credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff
     The United States is preparing to enter a period when its infrastructure goes beyond being connected to or depending on cyberspace but instead will reside in cyberspace. Credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

Experts Offer Cyber Strategy Tips

The Cyber Edge
November 13, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
E-mail About the Author

Ideas for structure and policy improvements will boost data and network protection.


U.S. data protection and its relationship to national interests are swiftly evolving. One reason this trend will continue, cybersecurity specialists say, is that other nations see cyberspace differently than the United States and other democracies. Rather than incorporating technology into their societies as a tool, they use cybersecurity—both offensively and defensively—to support their different views and overall significantly challenge U.S. interests.

In a recent white paper titled Strengthening the Nation’s Cybersecurity Strategy, members of AFCEA International’s Cyber Committee share their viewpoints about concepts such as “defend forward” and “hunt forward.” These ideas represent changes in U.S. cybersecurity policy and doctrine and reflect an evolution in how the United States assesses cybersecurity. The concepts also recognize the differences between the U.S. view and that of authoritarian nations.

Committee members say this document is the first in a series of papers that will feature recommendations about how to strengthen overall U.S. cybersecurity. Combined, they will offer a comprehensive plan about how to improve the protection of capabilities, resources, organizations, readiness and the ability to respond to growing cybersecurity challenges. The series will approach these topics via several sets of issues and provide recommendations in the areas of structure, policy and programs. The recently released paper offers ideas about the first two areas.

Regarding cybersecurity structural issues, the committee members laud the advice Congress’ Cyberspace Solarium Commission offers. Among the recommendations the committee members support is the creation of the Office of the National Cyber Director (NCD), the leader of which would be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

According to the commission, the NCD’s role would include coordinating interagency cybersecurity activities, as well as developing, in concert with department and agency heads, federal budget guidance for cybersecurity activities and programs.

While Cyber Committee members recognize the complexity of the challenges this director would face, they point out that the office would be vital as the United States moves into a realm in which its infrastructure goes beyond being connected to or depending on cyberspace and enters a period when it will reside in cyberspace.

In terms of policy, given the ongoing efforts by other countries to undermine the integrity of U.S. elections, a U.S. policy must state explicitly the costs other countries will bear should they persist in an aggressive manner, the committee members affirm. In addition, this policy should describe the manner in which the United States will mobilize the international community to resist illicit election activity in cyberspace as a way to shape responsible behavior in cyberspace.

As part of the effort to improve the U.S. cybersecurity strategy, committee members are available to meet with policy and decision makers regarding their recommendations. They intend to provide practical ideas that can be adopted throughout the nation’s critical and business infrastructure and, in some cases, by individuals.

Committee members also are willing to meet with industry and other representatives, recognizing that most of the country’s digital infrastructure is owned, operated and employed by the private sector.

Read all of the AFCEA Cyber Committee’s recommendations in Strengthening the Nation’s Cybersecurity Strategy by tapping into the free Resource Library online.

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