Bipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year

Bipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year
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A congressionally mandated commission plans to issue its recommendations for protecting the U.S. against cyberattacks early next year, a former top official at the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday.

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission — made up of bipartisan members of Congress, former government officials and industry representatives — is working toward formulating a comprehensive, strategic approach, commission member Suzanne Spaulding said at the Digital Government Institute’s 930gov conference.

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“I think we’re trying to cover everything, frankly, short of war,” said Spaulding, a former under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security's National Protection and Programs Directorate, now known as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

“To have a strategic approach, you’ve got to make sure that you’re thinking about all of the tools that you have at your disposal, all of the resources, all of the levers that both you and the private sector can contribute and bring to bear,” she added.

The commission was created by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and was named after President Eisenhower’s 1953 Solarium Project, which was tasked with developing a strategy to defend the U.S. against threats from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The 2019 NDAA gave the commission a Sept. 1 deadline to submit its report to Congress, but both the House and Senate versions of the 2020 NDAA call for a later submission date: Feb. 2 in the Senate measure and Sept. 1, 2020, in the House bill.

Congress has yet to pass the 2020 NDAA.

The co-chairmen of the commission, Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine Democrats grill Army, Air Force nominees on military funding for border wall Bipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year MORE (I-Maine) and Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John Gallagher2020 Democrats raise alarm about China's intellectual property theft Bipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border MORE (R-Wis.), wrote an op-ed for Lawfare on Monday in which they laid out the group’s goals.

“The United States is the most connected nation in the world—which brings opportunities but also increased vulnerabilities,” the two lawmakers wrote. “Unfortunately, U.S. politics, laws and national security policy have not kept up with both the risks and the opportunities stemming from the dynamism of technological change.”

King and Gallagher outlined the problems the commission hopes to address, which include defining the roles of the public and private sectors in securing U.S. information and critical infrastructure, how the Department of Defense should respond to cyberattacks by foreign nations, and how to promote “norms” of activity in cyberspace. 

Other commission members include Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseManufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank The Hill's Morning Report - Trump ousts Bolton; GOP exhales after win in NC Trump endorses Sasse in 2020 race MORE (R-Neb.), Rep. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinOvernight Defense: Afghanistan tops foreign policy issues at Dem debate | Erdogan says he'll discuss missile sale with Trump | US again challenges Beijing's claim to South China Sea Treasury sanctions three North Korean cyber groups for targeting critical infrastructure Lawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks MORE (D-R.I.), former Rep. Patrick MurphyPatrick Erin MurphyBipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year First Iraq vet to serve in Congress endorses Buttigieg Sen King, Rep Gallagher to chair bipartisan commission to defend US in cyberspace MORE (D-Pa.), FBI Director Christopher Wray, Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary David Pekoske and Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist.