State Department quietly establishes new cybersecurity office

State Department quietly establishes new cybersecurity office
© Greg Nash

The State Department quietly established a new office earlier this year within its Diplomatic Security Service to safeguard against and respond to cybersecurity threats.

The State Department officially launched the new office, called the Cyber and Technology Security (CTS) directorate, on May 28, a department official confirmed. The establishment of the directorate was first reported by Federal News Radio last week. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The directorate “facilitates the conduct of global diplomacy by protecting life, property, and information with advanced cybersecurity programs and risk-managed technology innovation,” the State official told The Hill. 

“CTS provides advanced cyber threat analysis, incident detection and response, cyber investigative support, and emerging technology solutions,” the official said. 

The new directorate does not appear to have a place on the department’s website and was not accompanied by an official press release at the time of its establishment. 

A government official told Federal News Radio that the new directorate essentially gives the State Department’s chief information officer one point of contact to make sure that embassies, consulates and foreign affairs officers are adequately protecting against cyber threats. 

Details of the new directorate follow rumblings of a potential cybersecurity shakeup at the State Department.

The department’s cybersecurity coordinator, Chris Painter, left his position at the end of July after more than six years on the job. Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonPompeo working to rebuild ties with US diplomats: report NYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story Rubio defends Haley over curtains story: Example of media pushing bias MORE is also said to be planning to shutter the cybersecurity coordinator’s office and move it under the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, as part of a broader effort to reorganize the department.

The cyber coordinator, a position established under the Obama administration, is responsible for engaging with other nations on cyber issues as well as serving as the department’s liaison to the White House, other federal agencies and the private sector.